With a Comcast investment of more than $100,000, Evergreen Goodwill is opening an enhanced Lift Zone & Community Space at its Whatcom County Job Training and Education Center that provides free WiFi and access to laptop computers. The space features new, cutting-edge technology enhancements and will be used for a variety of online and hybrid meetings, nonprofit community partner programming, and soon, online and hybrid job training classes.
Evergreen Goodwill offers free Job Training and Education (JTE) programs to people in the community, including adult basic education classes and workshops, which focus on preparing adults for today’s workplace, as well as career exploration. Evergreen Goodwill also offers support services to students, connecting them to things like housing and food assistance to remove barriers in their job training. In addition, hybrid and online courses are now available through Evergreen Goodwill’s JTE Programs, expanding the organization’s reach to help even more people across Northwest Washington.
Addressing the growing need for highly functional hybrid educational and professional environments, a significant portion of the new technology enhancements include upgraded and advanced audio-visual technology to improve video conferencing capabilities in the classroom.
“We are excited to unveil yet another chapter in our efforts to bridge the digital divide by enhancing digital equity in Bellingham and communities across Whatcom County,” said Eileen Aparis, vice president of Mission at Evergreen Goodwill. “The Comcast Lift Zone at our Whatcom County Job Training and Education Center is another example of our meaningful and long-standing partnership with Comcast. The company has invested more than $700,000 to support job seekers receive vital resources, access, and skills needed to be successful and not get left behind in our digital world.”
Evergreen Goodwill is looking to connect as many people as possible to quality jobs and to expand their educational opportunities. Comcast’s contributions have been used to support Evergreen Goodwill’s free JTE programs in King, Kitsap, Skagit, and Snohomish Counties. JTE programs also benefit from Comcast’s Lift Zone program, which has enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities at all five Evergreen Goodwill JTE Centers, providing hundreds of students and community members with convenient, consistent internet access.
“Bridging the digital divide has been a critical priority for Comcast since 2011 and increasing digital literacy in Whatcom County is as important now as it has ever been,” said Rodrigo Lopez, region senior vice president, Comcast Washington. “Working with Evergreen Goodwill, we are working to level the digital playing field in communities throughout our state.”
Highlights of the Evergreen Goodwill and Comcast Partnership
- More than 11 years of community partnership
- Funding of 118 Chromebooks laptops for JTE students to check out while enrolled in Goodwill’s 8-week digital skills classes.
- Hundreds of students provided digital equity instruction and foundational computer skills
- Upgraded technology provided throughout all Evergreen Goodwill centers
Since the start of the pandemic, Evergreen Goodwill has continued to adjust its vital programs and services and has served more than 6,800 students since March 2020. Enrollment in Evergreen Goodwill projects continue to increase as pandemic conditions improve, making the opening of Comcast’s Lift Zone timely. Since November 2020, Comcast has launched more than 90 Lift Zones that offer free WiFi access across the state of Washington to assist families who have limited or no internet connection in their homes.
These efforts by Comcast are part of Project UP, the company’s $1 billion commitment to reach millions of people with the tools, resources, and skills needed to succeed in a digital world. Project UP is Comcast’s company-wide initiative to advance digital equity by connecting people to the internet; opening doors for the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and storytellers; and creating new career pathways in the arts, media, and technology.
About Evergreen Goodwill
Evergreen Goodwill is a non-profit organization founded in 1923. We currently operate five Job Training Centers, 24 retail stores, and 30 donation sites in King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and Kitsap County. We employ over 1,500 people in our region. Every day we do our best to connect people with the jobs, services and skills they need. Evergreen Goodwill provides quality, effective employment training and basic education to individuals experiencing significant barriers to economic opportunity. Because Jobs Change Lives. Job Training and Education. Visit https://evergreengoodwill.org/about-us for more information.