Celebrating Digital Inclusion Week in America’s Most Connected City!

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All Provo residents (14 and older) are invited to celebrate National Digital Inclusion Week by participating in the Get Online for Good Open House at the Provo City Library, sponsored by the United Way of Utah County.

The first 75 attendees to complete a short online course at the open house (using your own laptop / smartphone or a computer the library provides) will receive a $5 Sodalicious gift card.

When: Thursday, May 11th – Stop by any time between 2pm and 8pm

Where: Provo City Library – Shaw Programming Room #260 (upstairs)

Why: Learn how you can use the internet as a tool to get connected to your neighborhood, find volunteer opportunities, use the United Way of Utah County’s app to find local services for people in need, register to vote, and more. You’ll be introduced to dozens of useful online tools created by civic and non-profit organizations in our community. This event is created to introduce the general public to local online tools and give us all the opportunity to learn what digital inclusion is and how it may be affecting our neighbors and fellow citizens.

If you can’t make it to the event, check out www.EmpowerProvo.org to take the short course on your own.

What is “Digital Inclusion”?

Digital inclusion is making sure that everyone has access to digital literacy training, devices like computers or tablets, and an internet connection.

Girl Develop It Provo Volunteers

Why Does Digital Inclusion Matter in America’s Most Connected City?

When compared to the rest of the nation, Provo has made incredible progress in making sure everyone has access to the internet. In fact, a recent report shows that 96% of Provo homes are connected.

However, in some ways, that makes digital inclusion more important than ever. Our “digital divide” may not be deep…but it can be wide. Organizations and businesses may assume that everyone is online, excluding people who are most in need of services. A lot of information that used to be available in paper form is now only accessible by those who have tech skills and an internet connection.

Low-income families, working adults without computer skills, and senior citizens are often the most affected.

Digital inclusion programs in our city help residents learn how to connect with their children’s K-12 schools, create resumes, apply for jobs online, find services for low-income residents, and develop the skills needed to compete for employment in a tech-focused job market.

What Digital Inclusion Services are Available in Provo?

A variety of programs are available to help. Here are a few you might want to know about (and pass on to your friends and neighbors):

Adopt-a-Computer – The United Way of Utah County’s Adopt-a-Computer Program provides donated, refurbished computers to low-income recipients who complete ten hours of personalized tech training. Surplus computers are donated by local tech companies and Provo City and refurbished by volunteer groups including Girl Develop It Provo. Donated computers have also been “adopted” by non-profit organizations serving at-risk populations including the Provo Bicycle Collective, Encircle LGBT Family & Youth Resource Center, and the Provo Housing Authority. For more information, call 2-1-1.

Adopt-a-Computer Warehouse

Computer Help Lab – Residents looking to improve their tech skills can show up at the drop-in lab at the Provo City Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-5pm in the Special Collections Room upstairs.

So far, over a hundred people have received on-on-one assistance at the lab. Seniors have come in to learn how to connect with family using a tablet. Residents facing homelessness and insecure housing have learned how to search for assistance programs and check online listings. Low-income residents have developed tech skills and applied for jobs online. It’s a welcoming, casual environment designed to give residents the digital literacy training they most need.

Relaunch – In this four-week support group, the United Way of Utah County is helping women looking to rejoin the workforce. Participants will develop their tech skills by polishing their resumes, starting a LinkedIn profile, and beginning a job search online. Everyone who completes the training will receive a complimentary copy of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and a free LinkedIn headshot taken by a professional photographer.

Sessions are 11am-1pm on May 24th, May 31st, June 7th, and June 14th at the Provo City Library.

The group is free, but commitment to all 4 weeks and advanced enrollment is required. For more information, email digitalinclusion@unitedwayuc.org or call 801-494-7314.

EmpowerProvo.org – Do you know how to register to vote online? Use an interactive map to find your neighborhood chair and other representatives? Download the United Way of Utah County app to locate resources? Use the best search to find local volunteer opportunities? This short online class will walk you through dozens of helpful online tools available to Provo residents.

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