You’ve heard of a win-win situation, right? Well this is a win-win-win-win situation. How can you not like it?
Let’s back up a minute and start with the need, the gap to be filled, the problem to be solved. Broadband skills and access are no longer just a nice thing to have. Rather they are essential to working life in America these days. Many more job openings are listed online than in newspapers. Many companies don’t even have paper application forms anymore; they have online application forms instead. How do you research a company in preparation for an interview except for online? Even at McDonald’s the employees use a computerized system to do their work. It’s simply a fact of life that broadband is essential to participation in today’s workforce.
In recognition of this, a small portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (more casually known as President Obama’s stimulus plan) is funding the Broadband Awareness and Adoption (BAA) program. By mobilizing the talents and resources of eight partner organizations who have experience reaching California’s low-income communities–such as Latinos, rural residents, people with disabilities and other demographic groups whose computer and broadband usage has significantly trailed the general population–BAA will provide these folks with the basic building blocks necessary for them to “bridge the Digital Divide,” so to speak. It will give them a better chance at improving their low-income situation.
The Chicana/Latina Foundation (CLF), based in Burlingame, CA, is one of the eight partner organizations. CLF promotes the professional and leadership development of Latinas through scholarships, mentoring and leadership training . Under the BAA program, CLF will recruit young women in eight northern California counties to serve as “broadband ambassadors to reach into under-performing schools, and ultimately into the homes of the students, to help families adopt broadband”. Not only will they be training people in broadband usage but in some cases they will be giving families refurbished computers.
CTP is proud to be a part of this process as well. CTP’s Computer ReUse Center is providing 75 refurbished computers to CLF at minimal cost. However, this not only helps the BAA program beneficiaries, but also provides CTP students with real work experience repairing, rebuilding and troubleshooting those 75 computers. That experience will look good on their resumes, boost their confidence and help them land a job. In addition, the money that the Computer ReUse Center receives for those computers will be used to purchase more e-waste computers from recycling centers for the CTP students to refurbish, thus growing the Computer ReUse Center.
So . . . BAA provides the broadband access and skills to low-income people, giving them a better chance at better paying work; it provides jobs for those doing the training; it provides work experience for CTP students which helps them find employment; and it helps to expand the Computer ReUse Center so that it can provide even more work experience for CTP students. That’s a lot of bang for the buck and what I call a win-win-win-win situation!