Evergreen Goodwill's role in bridging the "digital divide"
TAKING AIM AT DIGITAL EQUITY
For decades, Evergreen Goodwill has made it a point to assist people in communities across Northwest Washington in getting connected to the internet and comfortable using today’s technology. With nearly every form of employment requiring some form of digital knowledge, Evergreen Goodwill’s computer skills courses and services available have never been more essential.
WHAT IS THE “DIGITAL DIVIDE?”
The “digital divide” refers to the economic, educational and social inequalities between individuals who have access to a computer and the internet and those who do not or haven’t had the opportunity to receive proper training.
As of 2021, according to the Washington State Dept. of Commerce, 45% of residents across Washington state reported either having no access to the internet at home or very slow internet speeds.
While having reliable access to the internet is a big part of the issue, the majority of Evergreen Goodwill’s student population does not have access to a computer that they can utilize for training. At the same time, American jobs are undergoing a massive technological transformation with an increasing number of entry-level workers expected to know how to use digital devices.
WHAT WE ARE DOING TO HELP
Evergreen Goodwill has provided free computer classes at all five of our Job Training and Education Centers (JTEC) in King, Kitsap, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties for 40 years. Our digital skills classes cover an array of topics including typing, navigating the internet, using Microsoft applications like Word and Excel, and operating an email account. In an effort to incorporate digital skills into all of the Adult Basic Education classes we offer, Evergreen Goodwill has invested in dozens of tablets, iPads and desktop computers for students to use while participating in courses and workshops at our JTECs.
But we certainly aren’t alone in this effort.
Evergreen Goodwill is extremely thankful to have partnerships with many community organizations, companies, and local and state government agencies to help us in our digital equity endeavors, which include:
- City of Seattle, Technology Matching Fund
- Microsoft Certification/GII
- Digital Bridge
- King County, Digital Equity
- Bank of America
- Tulalip Tribes Charitable Foundation
- Foster Foundation
- Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound
- Washington State Department of Commerce
- Goodwills of Washington
- Digital Equity Learning Network of Seattle & King County
- Whatcom Library System
- Everson School District
- East Whatcom Regional Resource Center
- Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington