We are excited to announce the opening of the fully-accessible Lift Zone Lab: Digital Community Learning Space at Easterseals Washington’s Gateway Adult Services in Bremerton. With internet connectivity and a $75,000 investment from Comcast, and Easterseals’ expertise in supporting people with disabilities, the lab will make technology accessible to people of all abilities.
The Lift Zone Lab: Digital Community Learning Space will facilitate digital literacy training for people of all abilities and give participants access to gaining skills in socialization, communication, memory, job development, community access, independence, computer literacy, improving vocabulary, motor skills, free high-speed Internet, and much more.
The new lab also is furnished with assistive technology to help different individual needs. For example, a person with autism will work with virtual reality to overcome anxieties associated with public interaction; and clients with mobility challenges will build independence by learning to operate Smart Home devices, and by accessing them with adaptive equipment.
Some of the pieces of assistive technology included in the Lab include:
- Jelly Bean Switches – Make navigating more accessible by using switches to toggle items and more easily select what users are looking for.
- Tetra Mouse – Allows for using a mouse and navigation on a computer by using one’s mouth.
- GlassOuse Wearable Mouse – Worn like a pair of glasses and connects to mobile phones, computers, tablets, and Smart TVs via Bluetooth to revolutionize the technology used for those with restricted mobility.
- Accessible Desks – All desks in the Lab are adjustable depending on the individuals’ needs.
“Local children and adults with disabilities who want to be more actively involved in school, in the workplace, and with their families will have another resource through the opening of the new space in Bremerton,” said Cathy Bisaillon, President & CEO, Easterseals Washington. “We are thankful for the investment Comcast is making to bring to life our vision for a digital lab that provides training in an inclusive and accessible environment to the community in Kitsap County.”
According to Pew Research, a quarter of people with disabilities say they never go online and more than half say they do not have a home broadband subscription according to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). Comcast and Easterseals have partnered to address this issue with the Lift Zone Lab and provide accessible access to top-flight technology.
“Connectivity matters right now more than ever, and we recognize the challenges people with disabilities confront and how that effects their ability to use the internet and technology,” said Rodrigo Lopez, Region Senior Vice President, Comcast Washington. “That’s exactly why a fully-accessible digital community learning space like the one coming to Gateway Adult Services in Bremerton is so important, and why we at Comcast want to partner with organizations like Easterseals.”
To add some art to this unique learning space, “Underwater Encounters,” a mural designed by Lisa Stirrett of The Creative Warrior Studio, was constructed by Urban ArtWorks and sent to 50 Comcast employee volunteers who each painted a section of the mural. The mural is now on display outside the Lift Zone Lab: Digital Community Learning Space at Gateway Adult Services in Bremerton.
Comcast is also providing the space with free internet service as part of the company’s effort to roll out WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in local community centers throughout Washington in partnership with cities, community organizations, and local nonprofit partners. Through its Lift Zone initiative, Comcast is establishing WiFi-connected safe spaces for those needing internet access in 80 community centers statewide by the end of 2021. The project is part of Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to reach 50 million people over the next 10 years with the tools, resources, and skills needed to succeed in a digital world.
Lift Zones are a part of Internet Essentials: Comcast’s ongoing commitment to help connect low-income families to the Internet in and outside of the home. Internet Essentials is Comcast’s signature digital equity initiative and the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected a cumulative total of more than 8,800 low-income residents to broadband Internet in Kitsap County.
Internet Essentials has a comprehensive design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption. This includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person; the option to purchase a heavily subsidized, low-cost Internet-ready computer; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month, plus tax. For more information about Internet Essentials and Comcast’s commitment to education and digital equity, please visit https://corporate.comcast.com/education. To apply, visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376 for English or 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.