Digital illiteracy is a barrier to community participation and family progress for many adults across the country. The Mexican Institute of Greater Houston (MIGH) addresses this digital divide and also focuses on populations with an added barrier: English is their second language. MIGH’s goal is to engage these populations, as well as improve broadband adoption rates in the Greater Houston, Beaumont, Dallas, and San Antonio areas through broadband outreach and training for Hispanic and minority communities. The project is utilizing its network of over 100 existing community centers, many located at K-12 public schools in the region, to conduct basic computer technology training sessions in Spanish for students and their families, as well as expanding the network to accommodate the program’s growth and development.
MIGH programs enrich the lives of Hispanic adults through education. Classes at Keeble Early Childhood/Pre-K Center began in February 2011. Students at the center are primarily young mothers who want to learn how to use computers. The skills learned in the class help the mothers participate more actively in their children’s education and develop their own lives. Any MIGH student can also go to the Mendenhall computer laboratory for courses in basic computer skills, such as how to use word processing software, navigate the Internet, and open an e-mail account.
Additionally, MIGH’s computer center open labs allow visitors to gain additional computer practice and knowledge. Instructors and tutors typically are selected from MIGH program graduates and receive additional instruction through program instructor/tutor classes. These individuals have the additional opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills to teaching others. One former student is a teacher by trade but her disability made it difficult for her to find a job. She has enthusiastically enrolled to receive training to become a MIGH on-line tutor. These are just a few of the many success stories from MIGH’s training classes, where students are gaining marketable workforce skills.