Bridging the Digital Divide

Image: Teen Residents with ComputerA 2013 White House report on broadband reported that the digital divide is still “very much present in the U.S.” While 91 percent of Americans have access to high-speed internet at their workplace, only 71 percent actually subscribed to broadband at home. That rate was even lower for African-Americans, Hispanics and those in low-wage or manual labor jobs.

The Statistics*

  • 100,000,000 U.S. households lack broadband access
  • 46% of the poorest households don’t own a computer, while only 4% of the wealthiest go without one
  • Minorities have lower rates of Internet access. Home internet access by race: 72% White, 57% Hispanic, 55% Black
  • 96% of Americans have access to two or fewer providers, resulting in higher costs that squeeze out America’s poor

Access to technology and the ability to use it are critical in the classroom and 21st-century workforce. Families of limited financial means often receive too little training in computer technology. Access to technological resources may be the only hope of gaining skills that can be used for academic success and the hope of a better job and better life for their families. Read the New York Times’ article about the challenges of closing the digital divide.

BHC’s “Bridging the Digital Divide” initiative provides technological services to our residents. By offering internet and computer labs on-site, residents have the flexibility to pursue financial, education and employment goals when it best fits their schedules. Youth will receive targeted training during our after-school program. Adults and seniors will be provided opportunities to complete an online GED, pursue other educational programs and obtain job readiness skills that can lead to eligibility for certain jobs or promotion to a higher-paying job. For seniors, in particular, those age 55+ who are unable or not ready to retire, we aim to help make computers and technology less intimidating as more services are delivered through an online platform (i.e. affordable health care plans, employment applications, financial services, news).

BHC is currently working to expand the computer labs and programming at our Lincoln Mews and Winchester Greens as well as our senior communities. Special thanks to Capital One for their support with this initiative. For more information, emailĀ Sarah Fernald or call 804.644.0546 x118.