Youngstown workshop aims to help bridge digital divide, connect people to internet

Local News

The objective of the Oak Hill Collaborative is to revitalization the neighborhood with the goal being to improve the quality of life

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Oak Hill Avenue is a main street through Youngstown’s south side. The objective of the Oak Hill Collaborative is to revitalization the neighborhood with the goal being to improve the quality of life.  

However, lately, the collaborative has brought it upon itself to get as many people connected to the internet as possible.

They were at it again Saturday, telling people about a government program that includes internet access and computers.  

Oak Hill Collaborative held a workshop regarding emergency broadband benefits Saturday, showing what the benefits are and how they are helping people bridge the digital divide.

“One computer at a time, one happy client at a time,” said Anthony Hake, Director of IT at Oak Hill Collaborative.

The workshop held Saturday helped people sign up for $50 a month off their internet service and possibly get hundreds of dollars off a computer through the federal stimulus package.

“The work that we do here is lending out a hand and helping them up out of that pit and utilize email, scan their ID and whatever may be required,” Hake said.

“We have taken it upon ourselves to help people get through the process, and have navigators, you know, people who will sit down with you and go through all the paperwork,” said Pat Kerrigan, Executive Director Oak Hill Collaborative.

Kerrigan says low to middle income people or families can come and sign up for these benefits.

He says getting everyone internet access is crucial these days, especially since almost everything is done on line.

“With everybody either shut down or partially shut down, we’re never going to go back to the way we were before, and so, we are going to rely on the internet to communicate and to perform business and to enjoy the quality of life,” Kerrigan said.

He says these skills are another tool for the toolbox, and the people that come and get help from their programs are excited to learn.

“I’m really grateful for this opportunity because this might help me out a lot,” said Beverly Nemes, a Struthers resident.

Kerrigan hopes more and more people utilize this program.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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