If you’ve ever played a popular 80’s video game, then you know about the disadvantages your character has right out of the gate. You can’t jump as high or as far, and it’s easier to lose the level and have to start all over again. But in the first few seconds, there’s usually always a chance to ‘level up’ your character. Instantly, you can jump higher and farther, run faster and if you encounter an enemy, you still have another chance at winning the level.
There are thousands of Houston area residents who — from a digital perspective — aren’t ‘leveled up’ and therefore struggle to participate in the digital economy. Some Houstonians still don’t know how to surf the web, write emails or create a resume. Others don’t even have a reliable and fast internet connection in their homes. The digital divide is still big. According to the 2020 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Communities Survey, one in ten households, or 687,086 households, in the greater Houston area do not have an internet subscription or do not have a computer.
They want to ‘level up’, and they are about to get it.
Comcast, the Houston area’s largest internet service provider, is giving more than one million dollars this year to local organizations that help students, adults and people with disabilities ‘level up’ their computer, career development and tech education skills. The million-dollar investment will also support ongoing efforts to build awareness about low-cost or no-cost connectivity programs like Internet Essentials and the federal government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
“These investments are a part of Comcast’s ongoing efforts to make a real difference in southeast Texas by giving families an opportunity to thrive in this digital age,” Ralph Martinez, Comcast Houston’s Regional Senior Vice President, said. “The Internet is where life happens. It allows students to expand their educational aspirations and it empowers parents to explore better job openings so they can ultimately deliver a better quality of life for their families.”
So far, Comcast has given grants to eight Houston area organizations. More announcements will be made later this year.
- United Way | Funding will be used to provide tech experts (Digital Navigators) to help people in need of digital skills training.
- BakerRipley | Funding will support computer skills, software, email and internet safety training for low-income adults in the Houston area.
- Comp-U-Dopt | Funding will support students participating in Early Adopters, STEAM Team and Learn2Earn, which brings technology education to area youth. Comp-U-Dopt will also use the funding to provide tech experts (Digital Navigators) to help people in need of digital skills training.
- Easter Seals of Greater Houston | Funding will support the development of a curriculum for people with disabilities to help them successfully learn to use digital technology to gain and maintain employment
- The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston | Funding will help high school students gain technical and leadership skills through the Workforce Readiness Program.
- AAMA | Funding will be used to purchase technology and equipment to support students through the training program at the Work and Learn Center, with an emphasis on digital literacy and design.
- Dress for Success | Funding will be used to provide Houston-area women with the resources needed to obtain long-term employment through access to job readiness training, digital skills workshops, computers and mobile labs.
- AVANCE-Houston | Funding will support adult literacy program and continue to build pathways to economic mobility for families in the community.
“We are passionate about doing our part to help close the digital divide and committed to helping establish a more equitable foundation for learning, working and succeeding,” Martinez said.
Comcast remains steadfast in its efforts to connect people to moments that matter, to connect families to opportunities in Southeast Texas. For more than a decade, the company has offered Internet Essentials to help low-income Americans access reliable, high-speed internet. Comcast is now a proud champion of the federal government’s new Affordable Connectivity Program. ACP gives qualifying households up to $30 towards their monthly internet bill. With ACP, Comcast’s Internet Essentials internet service is free.
As more Houston area residents get the ‘level up’ they need, just like in their gameplay, they will have more chances to keep advancing—better jobs, better education, innovation, opportunities and yes, more fun and better gaming.
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