Our IT training program (LIFE Tech) has taken the road less traveled as we continue to create a positive impact in our community. We were recently approved as a Digital Navigator through a program offered by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) within their Rural department. This has provided us with better processes and great networking opportunities with other organizations that are doing their best to solve the same problem throughout other areas in our country.
We have given away more than 10 computers through this program already and provided two households with free WiFi for a year. We have directed several to free WiFi throughout our city and have made new partnerships that will impact how we operate for some time. We have also improved our efficiency by multiples as we have purchased a server that will allow us to install Windows operating systems within a Pxe boot environment. We can now install on up to five machines simultaneously which dramatically improves our efficiency. Through our LISC partnership, we now offer assessments through NorthStar to gauge how digitally literate our clients are and enroll them in free courses to strengthen their knowledge in their areas of weakness.
We have also enrolled two interns who are recent high school graduates to help with our summer camp and to participate in a Microsoft Hack-for-Good Hackathon project. We will share more information on these two in our next report, but we're very happy to have them on board.
Finally, thank all of you for your generous contributions to this project. We are grateful for your belief in us and our ability to make an impact in our rural community!
2021 has begun with a bang as we have added a major component to our IT offering. Our organization had a pre-existing relationship with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). Through their Rural LISC department, they have created a Digital Navigator program that aims to assess client access to technology and baseline digital skills and advise on free or affordable home internet service options and sources of affordable computers or other internet-connected devices, helping clients more fully participate in their communities. This partnership allows us to build a targeted approach to closing the digital divide in the places most needed.
We are excited about this new offering! We now have the resources to impact a much broader client base in a much more meaningful way. Your continued support is greatly appreciated!
Just a few months ago, we began a journey that would aggressively pursue addressing the Digital Divide in East Texas which has manifested itself in unexpected (yet unsurprising) ways during the current pandemic. Households who are less fortunate have struggled to keep up with the demands of their jobs, ability to search for new jobs, and their children's academic requirements while also providing their own daycare as many commercial daycares have increased the risk, especially among parents.
We have been unable to solve every problem, but we have provided internet to 3 households, computers to over 40 households, and we have four trainees in our CompTIA IT training certification program! This is all very exciting for us. We have also been approved by the United States' Department of Labor as a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) which will allow us the ability to grow our training program as we seek sustainability.
We are currently working on our summer youth Technology Camp for High School youth interested in IT. We will have a Middle School curriculum available as well to pique the interest of that age group.
There will be more great news coming in the next few months, so stay tuned!
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