Future Generations Graduate School is using the community presence of fire stations across West Virginia to increase broadband access and teach digital literacy courses. In a novel twist, the project is outfitting and opening a total of 60 computer centers in fire stations across the state, providing free access to broadband and computer skills classes for low-income residents. The centers and their educational partner organizations are holding basic digital literacy classes as well as additional trainings on topics such as e-commerce, chronic disease self-management and substance abuse, and community-based emergency response and awareness.
The volunteer fire departments and emergency rescue squads manage the centers and maintain at least one computer mentor at each center to assist the community in training and using the computers. Future Generations hopes that the centers will help residents to pursue higher education and retrain for job opportunities.
This project is made possible by funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.