Jersey City Housing Authority residents taking free digital literacy workshops


Jersey City Housing Authority residents have recently been taking free digital literacy workshops as part of a collaboration with AT&T and Digitunity.

Photo courtesy of the Jersey City Housing Authority.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Tackling an issue as broad as digital literacy is no easy feat,” began JCHA Interim Executive Director Stephen Cea said in a statement.

“But we strongly believe that on-the-ground, individualized support is the best way to make a difference for our most vulnerable local families. These digital literacy community workshops supported by AT&T create much-needed space for hands-on, digital learning opportunities.”

The latest workshops were held at the TJ Stewart Apartments on March 23, the second in a series of events made available through this joint effort. The first was held on February 15 at JCHA’s Berry Gardens.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, about 16 percent of adults are not digitally literate.

In addition, about 40 percent of disconnected students face significant adoption barriers including insufficient digital literacy skills, according to a report from Common Sense Media.

To help close the digital divide, it’s important that families have accessible and affordable internet connectivity, but equally as important is that they have the digital literacy skills needed to use and benefit from the internet.

“Families most impacted by the digital divide need more than just accessible and affordable connectivity,” noted Arvind Swamy, regional director of AT&T External Affairs in New Jersey.

“To truly thrive, it’s important that we also provide digital literacy resources that teach the skills that students and families need to support online learning and complete other basic tasks. Together with the Jersey City Housing Authority and Digitunity, we’re proud to offer online courses and free workshops to help learners advance those very skills.”

The workshops allow participants to select from a range of video courses on basic digital literacy skills, including using email, accessing a web browser, remembering passwords, and cyber security.

To support all types of learners, sessions incorporated presentations and handouts, as well as student activities facilitated by AT&T volunteers and community organizers.

“Digitunity is thrilled to partner with AT&T and JCHA on this project. It’s inspiring as residents recognize how critical having digital literacy skills are to participate in today’s digital society and take part in these high-quality courses,” noted Digitunity Director of Programs Karisa Tashjian.

“They will use the skills they gain in their jobs, education, healthcare as well as in creative, financial and civic pursuits.”

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