Duluth Digital Inclusion Partnership announces plans for grant money | www.WDIO.com

Duluth Digital Inclusion Partnership announces plans for grant money

Updated: October 08, 2020 06:36 PM

The Duluth Digital Inclusion Partnership is excited about what a $150,000 grant can mean during this pandemic.  LISC received the grant, which is from the Partnership for a ConnectedMN.

23 different community groups formed earlier this year to work on ways to get computers out there to people who need them, connect them to the internet, and bridge the digital literacy gap.

On Thursday, they stood in front of Denfeld High School, and explained more about what the money will do.

The first is helping the Duluth School District keep their students connected. The district identified 1800 families without internet access. There are hot spots and chrome books for the families. But the funding will help pay for the service of the hot spots for the whole year.

"The second goal is to help families across Duluth, with eight digital navigators, and get them into five host organizations," explained Pam Kramer, from LISC.

There's already a group of students going through the navigator training at Lake Superior College, through the support of SOAR Career Solutions. Some of the grant money will help pay for that training. Once they complete the courses, they can help people with a variety of online issues.

"Digital navigators can help students, job seekers, and seniors access online learning, apply for jobs, and strengthen their computer skills," shared Elena Foshay. Director of Duluth Workforce Development.

This is all good news for students, like Josiah Green. "It takes a lot of skill and passion to know what it means to be yourself. And these connections could help greatly." He spoke on behalf of the Denfeld Community School Leadership team.

The grant will also provide added support for moving forward in ways to grow and maintain support to students and their families in need of affordable and reliable digital access.

On the Range, Karla Highland shared that her daughter, Alexis, has to run into town to send her assignments. She's a senior at Mesabi East, and lives in rural Gilbert. "We try to use the hotspot that the school provided. They have been great. But we don't have WiFi out here, and it's a struggle," Highland said.

A teacher for Mesabi East, who lives nearby, Erin Prazak, is also frustrated with the lack of internet service. She's trying to teach and help her three children with school, Back during the shutdown, she had to get in her car and sit under the phone tower to do her work.

Some extra stress, on top of what is already a stressful time.

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