Editor’s note: A previous version of this report contained an incorrect phone number. We regret the error.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Multiple agencies are coming together to give the people of the Mahoning Valley a digital advantage.
PCs for People, the Oak Hill Collaborative, Youngstown Area Goodwill Industries and the Public Library have partnered to make refurbished computers and internet hotspots available to low-income families.
The Oak Hill Collaborative’s initiative is to share tools for people to connect and grow.
They had already been offering refurbished computers, but now with the help of PCs for People, they can take the project to new levels.
Oak Hil Executive Director Pat Kerrigan says his goal is to offer cheaper equipment and education about computers.
“We can work on committees that figure out where to lay the conduit, help communities develop their own internet service,” he said.
Kerrigan says internet access is so important right now since the COVID-19 pandemic has moved us into a virtual world.
“People can’t even go get a shot, they can’t get the vaccine unless they can get online someplace and make an appointment. I mean, education, telehealth, job applications, government benefits. I can’t tell you the number of things I’ve seen. Well, you got to sign up online,” he said.
Kerrigan says the digital divide is real and without the equipment and internet access, that divide is going to get much larger. He says that is why programs like this are so important.
“If we can do it one kid at a time, one family at a time, one neighborhood at a time, then I think we could make a difference,” he said.
The program offers either a desktop computer, laptop or hotspot.
Anyone is welcome to apply for the program, just email email@example.com or call 330-489-8324.
You can also visit PCs for People’s website to register.