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Youth learning labs may impact Chicago jobs

Posted on August 26, 2019

The opening of more youth learning labs and other resources may impact Chicago jobs.

Comcast Corporation and Chicago Public Library (CPL) at the Austin Library Branch have announced the largest ever expansion of Internet Essentials in the City of Chicago. Comcast will significantly expand eligibility for its program, the nation’s largest, most comprehensive, and most successful broadband adoption initiative, to all low-income households in Chicago. The expansion greatly expands the number of low-income households eligible for Internet Essentials, including households with people with disabilities and seniors.

Building on an existing partnership with Chicago Public Library, Comcast is also dedicating $250,000 to open eight new digital media labs for teens and offering additional digital skills education programming to seniors and other populations by the end of 2019. Both commitments by the City and Comcast are designed to help residents build digital skills and Internet literacy, and increase adoption of Internet services in the areas of the city with the greatest need.

“This type of public-private partnership, where a good corporate citizen helps address community needs, can bring the transformative change we need in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This is one of many initiatives my administration will introduce that works to enhance equity in our city by ensuring that services and resources are available to every resident in every neighborhood.”

To increase the number of Chicagoans able to access broadband, Comcast has introduced new eligibility guidelines, which will make the program available to all families who qualify for government public assistance programs, including low-income people with disabilities and seniors. Previously, only families that reside in public housing qualify for the national school lunch program, as well as Pell-grant eligible community college students and low-income veterans were eligible to participate.

“This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal we set eight years ago, which was to meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast NBCUniversal. “The Internet is arguably the most important technological innovation in history, and it is unacceptable that we live in a country where millions of families and individuals are missing out on this life-changing resource. Whether the Internet is used for students to do their homework, adults to look for and apply for new jobs, seniors to keep in touch with friends and family, or veterans to access their well-deserved benefits or medical assistance, it is absolutely essential to be connected in our modern, digital age.”