Comcast and The Arc Partner to Expand Tech Training and Special Education Advocacy for People with Disabilities
Comcast today announced that it is expanding its partnership with The Arc of the United States to foster digital and advocacy skills in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.
The expansion comes in the form of Comcast providing two new grants to The Arc totaling $710,000. The funding will allow The Arc to establish more Tech Coaching Centers at chapters across the country and offer The Arc@School special education advocacy curriculum to Spanish-speaking families. These programs have already helped over 3,500 people with IDD develop more independence, equity, and opportunities for their future.
“Far too many people with IDD are left behind in our society,” said Ruben Rodriguez, COO and Acting CEO of The Arc of the United States. “A quality educational experience and understanding of technology is fundamental in creating equal opportunities of all kinds. These systems continue to deepen extraordinary disparities among people with IDD, especially underrepresented communities and low-income families. Our continued partnership with Comcast is making opportunity a reality for all people with IDD. It’s chiseling away at our society’s rampant inequities and helping everyone – no matter your disability – build bright futures.”
A first grant of $560,000, will support The Arc’s Tech Coaching Centers at 10 locations across the country. It will also expand the training model to include caregivers and family members of people with IDD to ensure they can support in the implementation of technology across all environments, including assistive technology.
With technology being an increasingly vital part of navigating and participating in today’s plugged-in world, including transportation, employment, recreation and social interaction, people with IDD face unique barriers to understanding and adopting digital tools, which are exacerbated by a higher rate of poverty and lower overall income. Since 2014, Comcast has supported The Arc’s Tech Coaching Center, reaching nearly 2,500 people with IDD through 19 chapters and giving them access to devices, services, and training that advance measured outcomes in employment, health, independent living, education, and interpersonal connections.
“We know that digital skills training can open new doors to opportunity and help people living with disabilities gain independence,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation.
We are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with The Arc to reach even more people with IDD – including their caregivers and families — and to create pathways that can help enrich their lives.
A second grant of $150,000 will go towards advancing efforts to help marginalized communities better advocate for their education. This investment will allow The Arc to fully translate the curriculum into Spanish to better meet this population’s needs and increase access to the content.
Academic achievement and graduation rates for students with disabilities lag far behind their peers, trends marked by inordinate discrimination, suspensions, and isolation within school settings across the country. In 2016, The Arc created The Arc@School, an evidence-based, self-paced online training program designed to help families, educators, and advocates navigate the special education system. Since 2021, Comcast has partnered with The Arc to connect underserved communities to these educational advocacy resources. To date, more than 500 families of color and low-income households have been given free access to The Arc@School, in addition to a facilitation guide, Spanish language overview of the special education process, and cultural competency resources and sections.
These grants were distributed through Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people in order to advance digital equity and help create a future of unlimited possibilities.