Community-based organizations supply California’s demand for connectivity during and post socio-economic upheaval.
San Bernardino, Calif. — Arbitrary student assistance and unlawful eligibility requirements exclude hundreds of thousands of community college students, including veterans and students, protected statuses during COVID-19 remote working orders nationally. As dropouts rise due to lack of computing devices at home, some community-based organizations are aiding local school districts moving to breach the gap in demand of computer power at home in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.
The virus exposed the implications of a gap, particularly among African American and Latino students in the US, and reflects frustration among many Americans who were left out by the economy’s injection of money. But Cheraya Evan’s situation in Rialto, a suburb of San Bernardino County, where her daughter doesn’t go to school in the summer, says Cheraya’s father is working just to two to three days a week now, down from seven.
The family is being charged $30 a month for internet access, even though they have almost no expendable income. Cheraya says they value their daughter’s education and will keep paying the money, also if it means making other sacrifices. The exclusion of participation of people of color and marginalized alike resulted in an executive action by Gov. Newson to amend regulatory practices to motion emergency funding of the Department of Education, temporarily waving red tape.
Human I-T donated 300 plus computers last year as part of a California Advanced Services Fund agreement but, UNDA Digital Program Supervisor, Mrs. Rebecca Mendoza, said. The impact digital affluence has on many areas of life, from using the internet, or using online banking, to receiving a quality education and securing employment, and Mendoza declares “computers need to be free in a moment of dire need.”
According to a report in February from Broadband, around 42 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Now, an internet data analysis company. In 2019, a Pew Research Foundation report found that 1 in 10 Americans had access to the internet only through smartphones.
“Unfortunately, there is a persistently widening digital divide in The United States, particularly among people of color, with the problem compounded by the rapid rate of technological advancements,” Mendoza said. “As the United States becomes increasingly digitized, it’s crucial that our nation’s most under-served people have equal opportunities to participate in education and employment.”
UNDA Digital, a digital literacy non-profit group, based in Los Angeles, developed a bilateral task force to implement toolkits to increase digital literacy among communities of color of all ages in West Lake, California. And it is now expanding to Riverside and San Bernardino to help sustain students’ slipping through the cracks.
The initiative is rolling out of digital literacy training programs run by UNDA Digital staff and will be open to all adults in the community, not just students. Another population being left out by the US Secretary of Education’s, Betsy Devos, aid to address virus disparities, were people with disabilities, including veterans.
The digital literacy training programs and apprenticeships focused on providing a basic understanding of Microsoft Office, teaching participants how to use Team, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint Online, and a range of other Microsoft business programs, including OneNote. Now, UNDA’s effort expands towards the applications of the Google enterprise in education, academic and personal aspects of life in a new economy.
UNDA Chief Financial Officer, Andy Chavez stated that partner community college campuses have a mission to support reconciliation and “therefore have an important role to play in overcoming the challenges that many under-served communities in accessing and using digital technologies.”
Students in the unincorporated parts of Southern California are geographically disadvantaged, and digital literacy is a critical component of any effort to bring about educational equity to digital orphans.
The initiative runs 24 times in 2020, with training courses running up to eight hours, starting at a beginner’s level, and then advancing to more intermediate concepts. The second round of digital literacy-training programs is to begin on June 4 through next year on digital literacy options to fit different objectives.
“UNDA Digital recognized a need to implement basic IT training; a lot of services – Medicare, the 2020census.gov, coveredca.com, even the grants program for Californians – they’re all online,” Mr. Chavez added. “We’re on the verge of putting millions of Americans at a further disadvantage because of a lack of technical knowledge.”
There is a profound economic reality for people of color. People’s unjust exclusion demands deliberate efforts to go beyond a one size fits all for not just students of abled, white bodies but those of other make-up too because this set back for some people will be a permanent one.
UNDA Digital Movement strives for excellence in digital causes and believes the full potential of our ever-evolving digital lives can only happen when a culture of digital competence, cybersecurity, and privacy is the foundation of free-flowing content, multiple methods, and platforms for communication, trustworthy commerce, widely available and highly reliable connectivity. The public strategic agency is a 501 IRS compliant non-profit organization established in the state of California and rooted in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties serving the Latino, African American, Native American, and people with disabilities communities to connect online.