To kick off National Digital Inclusion Week, the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce and Fort Payne - DeKalb County Entrepreneurial Center (E-Center) are offering affordable devices to qualified local residents. Through a grant opportunity with rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), DeKalb County residents now have access to this equipment, training and ongoing support.
“Digital inclusion” is the term used to describe the ability of individuals to access and use information technology communications. It is pretty essential in today’s world, with many employers asking prospective employees to apply online or submit paperwork electronically.
Digital Inclusion Week is an annual campaign that recognizes local digital inclusion organizations and special events that promote digital equity across the country. It aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs.
Thanks to the grant received, the E-Center now has a “digital navigator” in DeKalb County named Marsha Farmer who assesses access to technology and baseline digital skills, then advises clients on free or affordable home internet service options and sources of affordable computers or other internet-connected devices, helping clients more fully participate in their communities, the economy and society in the short and long-term.
To date, the E-Center has provided computers and laptops in DeKalb County to the Community Action Agency, DeKalb County Public Library and Marked for Life Ministries. Each computer is equipped with programs to assist with digital literacy and programs to help identify jobs.
“We are just getting started, there are so many other areas in DeKalb County who need our services. We want to hear from you, if you see a need in your community, let us know,” said Chamber Executive Director Jennifer McCurdy in a press release.
Farmer, the digital navigator, can provide one-on-one training, as well as group training at the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce. For more information and to see whether you qualify, call 256-845-2741. Those who can borrow a computer can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Digital Inclusion” requested.