Comcast Partnership Brings Digital Literacy Classes to LIFT-Chicago
For all of the barriers our Members face in achieving their goals, the digital divide is one that seems so simple, yet is incredibly overwhelming. When Advocates and Members work side-by-side, Advocates’ hands move quickly across the keyboard as they transcribe cover letters, format resumes, sort through emails, and navigate complicated applications. As members of the “Millennial” generation, many of our Advocates have grown up typing, emailing, Googling, and researching on the Internet. While the digital know-how of our Advocates provides an important bridge between LIFT Members and job postings, applications, and other critical resources available online, Members have always expressed interest in developing their own computer skills to supplement the work they do at LIFT. After all, digital literacy is an integral part of the progress Members make on their goals and yet, for many, appears impossibly complicated — shutting people out of jobs they could be qualified for.
Thanks to the support from Comcast, LIFT-Chicago recently launched a series of digital literacy classes. Each class is tailored to the unique needs of our Members, many of whom have enrolled to learn the tips and tricks that make navigating a computer and the job search easier and more effective. Each class is broken down to focus on a specific aspect of digital literacy, starting from the beginning with an introduction to the functions of computer components, such as the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Subsequent classes have a greater focus on the Internet, covering browser basics, email, and searching for jobs online.
In August, Andrew Zapke, a former LIFT-Chicago Advocate with past teaching experience, led LIFT-Chicago’s first digital literacy class – an introduction to computers and Microsoft software. Andrew’s engaging teaching style embodied LIFT’s core value of collaboration – by the end of the class, participants were assisting their neighbors with tricky concepts and sharing computer tips they had learned through their own experience.
“Digital literacy is a necessity today,” says Andrew, “with more and more information online, and more and more jobs requiring a basic understanding of computers, it is imperative that people have the skills to navigate technology.” By providing digital literacy classes to the community, LIFT is able to empower members to make progress toward their goals outside of the office and Members can, in turn, empower their friends and family to do the same. We are excited to offer the full series of classes this year, and even more happy to see familiar faces at each class!
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