Internet Essentials Partners with Elizabeth Dole Foundation and Psycharmor Institute
Comcast expands reach of comprehensive low-income broadband adoption program to embrace low-income veterans. Company also launches an Internet Essentials Learning Zone across the District of Columbia, provides grants to 19 local nonprofits, and announces pilot program for low-income seniors.
As part of its effort to close the digital divide for all low-income Americans, now including low-income veterans and seniors, Comcast today announced partnerships between Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive Internet adoption program for low-income households, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, and the PsychArmor Institute. The news comes on the heels of the company’s recent announcement that, since 2011, the Internet Essentials program has connected more than six million low-income Americans to the Internet, most for the first time in their lives. In addition, the company expanded eligibility for the program to include all low-income veterans living in its service area, which is estimated to total nearly one million, and to low-income seniors in the District of Columbia.
The Elizabeth Dole Foundation and PsychArmor partnerships were announced at the Reserve Officers Association Headquarters in Washington, D.C. today. The partnerships will support the creation of 10 veteran-specific digital skills training videos and supplementary materials, which will be made available online and delivered in classrooms at Comcast-sponsored computer labs in 10 markets. In addition, the partnerships will implement an advocacy effort designed to reinforce the importance of digital inclusion among veteran-serving organizations, caregivers, and elected and government officials. The ultimate goal is to connect more low-income veterans to Internet resources including: online social support networks, health benefits, access to colleges and scholarship programs, digital and technical skills training programs, as well as news, games, and entertainment.
“Internet access is incredibly important to the veteran community. Yet, about a third of low-income veterans still do not have Internet service at home and about 40 percent do not even own a computer,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Comcast Corporation. “We think this is simply unacceptable and our partnership with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and PsychArmor will help more low-income veterans get connected to the Internet so they can receive the benefits they deserve and learn the digital skills they need to be successful as civilians in our fast-paced, global economy.”
“An Internet connection can be a transformative tool for low-income veterans and their caregivers. The greater access to benefits, resources and to each other can truly make a difference in their quality of life,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole, President of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. “Our first partnership with Comcast NBCUniversal has helped us establish a nationwide network of support for veteran caregivers, and we look forward to building on this work by reaching out across our Hidden Heroes network to connect with low-income veterans who may have been left on the wrong side of the digital divide. They should not be left behind.”
Also today in Washington, D.C., Comcast launched an Internet Essentials Learning Zone, which will create a continuum of Internet connectivity for students and families across all eight Wards of the City. The goal is to ensure more low-income students are connected to the Internet at school, then after school at anchor institutions, such as libraries and community centers, and then at home through Internet Essentials. As part of the D.C. Learning Zone, Comcast will provide courtesy broadband service to 19 partners, including nonprofit and social service organizations.
In addition, Comcast announced a grant for Beacon House, an Edgewood neighborhood organization dedicated to closing the education achievement gap for children in Ward 5. The company donated 32 laptops to high school juniors and seniors who attend after school programs there. Finally, Comcast announced that, in January 2019, it will expand its senior pilot program to low-income seniors in the District of Columbia. The company plans to work with the District of Columbia Public Libraries to help expand digital inclusion training classes tailored to meet the needs of area seniors.
At various events today, Comcast was joined by four Olympic and Paralympic gold medalists, including track and field star and still-standing world heptathlon record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee, U.S. Women’s Olympic hockey team gold medalists Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, as well as two-time Paralympic sled hockey gold medalist, and veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Rico Roman.