Does your organization serve low-income individuals or families that could benefit from a discount on their monthly internet bills?
You can help your community members enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a federally funded initiative that provides subsidies to make home internet more affordable.
Community Tech Network’s digitalLIFT team is here to support you in the process.
Free ACP Overview Course
First, we offer a FREE online, self-paced course which provides an overview of the ACP. In this course, you’ll learn about the basic steps of the ACP application and enrollment process. We’ll explain in simple terms the eligibility criteria, the types of documents that folks need to apply, and other key information.
Simply learning more about the ACP through this free overview course can empower you to educate your clients. Skye Downing, CTN’s Digital Equity Programs & Partnership Director, says: “As of today, only 38% of eligible households are enrolled in ACP nationwide. There’s so much room for improvement! Many eligible households don’t know that ACP exists, or how and if the program can benefit them, so outreach is a huge part of the work.”
Certified ACP Enrollment Specialist Course
Additionally, we offer an online course to become a certified ACP Enrollment Specialist. This training will prepare you to assist clients with the entire ACP application process from start to finish, including submitting their support documentation and applying the government benefit to an internet plan. It will also help you anticipate common stumbling blocks in the application process and identify steps to navigate them.
Downing says: “Given the huge importance of the ACP, there’s a real need for trained enrollment specialists to help others nationwide. More enrollment specialists means we can maximize the use of this program and help as many people as possible.”
She adds that having enrollment specialists directly working within the community is an added benefit. “There are some vulnerable populations who may avoid enrolling in ACP simply because of language barriers, feeling insecure about the process, or not trusting it. They may feel that providing information about themselves will invite problems or issues (which is not the case). Therefore, CTN works diligently to train enrollment specialists who are trusted resources within their communities.”
Personalized Support and Training for Organizations
For organizations that could benefit from personalized support as they work to help their community take full advantage of low-cost internet, we also offer an ACP digitalLIFT package, which includes access to both of the aforementioned online courses as well as coaching from our expert team. You’ll be able to ask questions in a workshop, join a community forum with like-minded professionals across the nation, and access special resources specific to the population that you serve. We even offer our LIFT participants a complimentary curriculum that they can use if they decide to offer technology classes to their clients. Best of all: the CTN team will always be just an email away to provide you with customized advice on everything.
Downing believes that CTN is uniquely positioned to offer this training. She says: “For over 15 years, CTN has helped folks apply for low-cost internet. As we offer digital skills training to our clients, many of them mention that they don’t have internet connectivity at home. We explain their options, including the ACP and its application process, and this usually leads to us helping guide them through the process. As a result of this, we know the ins and outs of the program and have become subject matter experts through our own training and experience. We offer extensive resources, tips, and a wealth of knowledge in this important area.”
She continues: “In a nutshell, CTN’s years of experience give us a depth and breadth of knowledge that is hard to find anywhere else. For example, a lot of information about ACP is available online. You can search what it is and how to apply for it, but once folks begin the application process, questions come up that are not as easy to answer. Our LIFT ACP course puts all of this information in one place and offers valuable tips and advice. CTN has done this work for many years. We want to empower our partners and grant them the training and knowledge needed to support their efforts in getting their clients qualified and approved for the ACP.”
For more information or to get a price quote, contact us at LIFT@communitytechnetwork.org.