15 Dec Innovative program bridges digital literacy gaps for vulnerable populations
In a world becoming increasingly dependent on remote labor, COVID-19 has further exposed the digital divide and the fact that employability is often contingent on digital competency. Many populations who are either new to technology or who have fractured digital knowledge are getting left behind in an era where the digital gap is further widening.
Thanks to the support from World Education Services (WES), and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), Cell-Ed is developing comprehensive digital literacy courses to bridge digital literacy gaps and help to mitigate the access divide. Cell-Ed is proud to be one of the first investees of the World Education Services and the WES Mariam Assefa Fund supporting first and second generation immigrants and refugees with their educational and workplace goals.
The mobile-first courses, designed to benefit job seekers and students will cover topics such as:
- data privacy
- navigating forms/applications
- setting up and using email
- identifying trustworthy sources of information online
- using word processing solutions
The courses will be offered in three versions: English, Spanish, and one for English Language Learners. It will benefit both those new to technology and those with fragmented digital knowledge (e.g., they know how to post a TikTok video but not proper email etiquette when searching for jobs).
Individuals in the CDSS program will not only receive access to mobile-first digital literacy courses via Cell-Ed, but also laptops and/or smartphones. Cell-Ed is currently working with Tech Exchange, an Oakland-based nonprofit with more than 20 years of experience in closing the digital literacy and access divide, to develop the curriculum as well as to procure, distribute, manage, and track laptops. The initial project goal is to distribute 20,000 laptops and almost 1,000 smartphones in 2021, Cell Ed, with the support of our partners WES, CDSS, and Tech Exchange, is looking forward to providing programs to help mitigate the digital divide and give job seekers practical skills in a post-COVID world.
WES (World Education Services) and the WES Mariam Assefa Fund is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and workplace goals in the United States and Canada. Over more than 45 years, WES has provided credential evaluations to nearly three million individuals from around the globe. The WES Mariam Assefa Fund supports catalytic efforts to build more inclusive economies for immigrant and refugee workers in the U.S. and Canada and ensure that they have the skills, knowledge, and support to succeed.