Among the greatest advances in technology in the last quarter century, the personal computer and the Internet would be near the top of that list. Imagine the panic, anxiety, and chaos that would occur if the web were to go down for an even an hour.
But for 25% of the population with the lowest income, the interruption would be barely noticeable. Updated computers, tablets, smartphones are luxuries, much less actual broadband online access.
Why should internet disparity be a concern? Because it may actually play a role in keeping poor people poor by cutting off access to:
- Government benefits and services.
- Employment pathways. 80% of Fortune 500 companies, including Target and Walmart, only accept job applications online.
- Educational opportunities and resources. More and more schools are assigning homework that requires internet usage. Research show us that students who have Internet access have graduation rates 6-8% higher than those who don’t.
- Comparison shopping in order to find cheaper products, services, and rates. Consumers can save almost $8,000/year finding discounts on essentials like apartment rentals, clothes, gasoline and food.
- Time saving online tools which frees up time for other activities.
- Sources of knowledge and information for research, medical advice, day-to-day repairs, etc.
- Relationships and even employment can be enhanced by social media.
- Productivity and developing skills useful for the marketplace.
Our Technology Center at Salt & Light will make these invaluable resources available to our participants and neighbors. We hope it becomes a place of collaboration sparking creativity, innovation, and imagination.
Instruction will be available in basic word processing, how to utilize the web, internet security, social media, and other essential computer usage. Lab monitors will be on hand to assist with need that may arise.