As schools, businesses, libraries and community centers have closed due to COVID-19, access to public computers has been completely cut off. This has left close to 60,000 Baltimore households disconnected from essential aspects of life such as education, mental health and healthcare services, employment, skills development, and social connections.
The Baltimore Digital Equity Coalition (BDEC) was created to support a “rapid response” to digital access in the wake of COVID-19, though they recognize that these are issues that have existed for decades. The hope is that they need not persist as this crisis unfolds, or linger after it ends. The Adult Learning Center has joined over 35 organizations working to close the digital divide through four main goals:
The Adult Learning Center is a part of the digital skills training and technical support team, which is working to create a city-wide help-desk for adult learners and workforce training programs throughout the city. Recently, the advocacy work has helped convince Comcast to extend their internet essentials program through the end of 2020.
Donating to the ALC allows us to provide digital resources like laptops, Chromebooks, or tablets to our learners so they can do classes at a distance. Donate to the ALC here.