Philadelphia expands efforts to bridge ‘digital divide’

The city of Philadelphia is working to provide computer access to those who cannot afford their own equipment.

The Freedom Rings Partnership will use federal stimulus money to open 77 computer centers throughout the city. Digital literacy and workforce training opportunities will be offered throughout the city.

Rasheedea Manning, who is unemployed, attends a class at one of the computer centers.

“I’m studying early childhood education, so I find a lot of information off the computer,” she said. “It teaches me the steps I need to do to get my associate’s degree and that’s why I love this class. (My teacher) works on my resume … I just enjoy being in his class. It’s really good for me.”

Farah Jimenez, head of the People’s Emergency Center, said teaching people computer skills is important.

“We at PEC believe that access to the Internet and computer training are a necessity for all Philadelphians.” Jimenez said. “As such we have striven to be a leader to bridge that digital divide.”

PEC has taught thousands computer literacy as well as providing low-cost or free computers throughout the community it serves. Other community partners will open computer access centers in the city soon.

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