According to the U.S. Census American Community Survey, 81 percent of all U.S. households subscribe to broadband at home, but only 63 percent of households with an annual income of less than $35,000 do.
Further, findings from the United States Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey show that roughly a third of low-income veterans do not have internet access and less than 60 percent own their own computer.
As both educational and career opportunities become increasingly digital, those without access to technical resources and training find themselves at an undeniable disadvantage. One demographic in particular that comes to mind this time of year – low-income veterans – is in critical need of support.
We as a community can help alleviate these low levels of access to technology through affordable programs that support training and job readiness, as well as provide resources that help empower them when they exit the military.
Why the emphasis on technology empowerment?
In some ways, internet and technology resources have become almost as important as having access to running water. According to a 2018 report from the Technology Policy Institute, beyond education and career opportunities, internet is a critical tool for managing things like time, money and an overall family schedule. It is a ubiquitous resource that drives and influences nearly everything we do in modern society today.
So where can veterans look for support or resources when they transition from the military into the public sector? One resource highlighted in the Technology Policy Institute study is the Comcast Internet Essentials Program.
Over the past eight years, the program has worked to connect more than six million low-income Americans to the internet through a comprehensive high-speed internet adoption offering for individuals and families in the U.S. Further, Comcast announced a large Internet Essentials expansion in October 2018 that is specifically geared towards supporting U.S. veterans in Washington state.
To-date, more than 260,000 people statewide have benefited from this low-income internet and technology resources adoption program. It has also experienced noteworthy enrollment in Spokane County, where Comcast Internet Essentials has connected more than 25,000 residents to internet, technology and training resources. To learn more, visit www.InternetEssentials.com.
In addition to Internet Essentials, Comcast has a number of great programs that emphasize hiring, support for veteran entrepreneurs and advocacy for veteran communities nationwide.
“Programs like these can have a tremendous impact on the citizens of Spokane and are critical to help bridge the digital divide in our community and ensure everyone has the education and career opportunities they deserve,” said Spokane Mayor David Condon. “Supporting our local veteran community in Spokane is so important; these men and women have stood up for our country and it is important that we advocate for them. Programs like these, which provide access to tools and resources, can help change their lives for the better and ensure they are as successful as possible in the private sector.”
Throughout the year, it is important to remember and think about how we can stand up for veterans, and how organizations and businesses across Spokane can help by offering access to life-changing tools and resources that make transitioning into the private sector as fruitful and fulfilling as possible.
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