We have officially launched our first Seattle metro area Lift Zone with El Centro de la Raza in Seattle’s Central District to help them address a need for more Wi-Fi connectivity and technology resources in the local Latino community that has been hit so hard by COVID. In addition to the Lift Zone technology, we are pleased to open the new Roberto Maestas Digital Learning Lab at El Centro.
The new Roberto Maestas Digital Learning Lab and upgraded WiFi coverage will help El Centro ensure support for hundreds of local families.
The Comcast Lift Zone gives El Centro robust Wi-Fi coverage to support programs, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) and immigration services, housing and economic support, distance learning, youth curriculum, emergency services, and adult education classes. Comcast’s Lift Zones include free hotspot connectivity and access to hundreds of hours of educational and digital skills content while bringing the community El Centro serves needed WiFi connectivity.
The new lab offers a safe, welcoming space and technology center that supports distance learning and virtual programming. The lab is furnished with $50,000 in new technology from Comcast for recording, streaming and remote instruction, which helps El Centro run their programming virtually until it is safe to return to in-person instruction. Through this new virtual programming, El Centro is able to connect with even more households than ever before, allowing people from across the state to remotely attend classes from the safety of their homes. In the future, the lab will be open to other local nonprofits for use, as well.
“The Roberto Maestas Digital Learning Lab and expanded WiFi connectivity will play a vital part in supporting the people we serve throughout our local and virtual community. The lab will provide access to resources that empower our youth to participate in their education and actively learn in a digital environment. We will be able to provide technology training to help adults secure living wage jobs and support retraining efforts for those in industries impacted by the pandemic. We look forward to creating new programming that will better the lives of families in our community during the pandemic and beyond,” said Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza (The Center for People of All Races).
When the pandemic hit, El Centro made the commitment to continue its operations and serve the diverse community that relies on its support, as well as provide a safe and secure place for families and youth. Without this commitment, many families, immigrants and first-generation Americans would not have access to important services they need.
We announced a multiyear program in fall of 2020 to equip different locations in Washington with these WiFi-connected “Lift Zones.” Working with our network of nonprofit partners, we are providing robust WiFi hotspots at safe spaces in King, Snohomish and Spokane Counties that are expected to help tens of thousands of students and families. Additional Lift Zones sites are currently under consideration across Comcast’s footprint statewide, with the goal of having 40 installed in the first quarter of this year. The Lift Zone initiative provides free connectivity inside partner community centers for the next three years.
This program was built as an extension to our Internet Essentials program, which helps connect those with economic barriers to broadband internet and other resources for less than $10/month. You can learn more about this program and how to households can apply by visiting https://www.internetessentials.com/.