The Foundation for California Community Colleges launched California Connects, a Recovery Act-funded program to increase digital literacy skills and broadband adoption by providing training and learning support to underserved communities in the Central Valley region.
California Connects is utilizing local college students in the Central Valley to provide training in area communities, home to many low-income, Spanish-speaking residents. More than 5,800 socioeconomically disadvantaged students who are enrolled in the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program at 33 local community colleges will serve as trainers in their communities. Many of these students have already received laptops, Microsoft IT Academy training, and access to on-campus certification exams. As of April 2011, the Foundation has already launched the “Train-the-Trainer” digital literacy program and held two workshops. The Foundation expects to distribute an additional 3,000 laptops to MESA trainers by the end of this summer.
MESA trainers will teach residents to navigate the Internet, search for jobs online, and access important health and finance information.