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Digital Inclusion Week – Day 5: Bridging the Digital Divide for People with Disabilities

Two people work at a computer.

Comcast’s Digital Equity Network is an interconnected group of organizations in the Pacific Northwest that have a connection with each other and work collectively toward a common purpose to increase access and adoption of the internet, help people get online, build digital skills and open doors to economic mobility. Each day during, National Digital Inclusion Week, Oct. 2-6, 2023, we are highlighting local digital equity partners, resources and activities aimed at bridging the digital divide in the Pacific Northwest. 

Today, we are pleased to showcase the work of Easterseals Washington. As a member of our Digital Equity Network, Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. Thanks to a new initiative from Easterseals of Washington, Comcast and Kitsap Mental Health Services, at least 100 patients from KMHS are receiving the hardware and digital literacy support they need to help them reach a range of technology goals they may never have been able to otherwise.

With financial support from Comcast, Easterseals is providing Chromebooks to 100 patients from KMHS, along with access to the internet and education at an Easterseals Enhanced Lift Zone in Bremerton. Here the patients learn digital literacy skills so they can access mental health and other important services remotely. Easterseals has already trained the first of approximately 10 cohorts of 10 patients – and the results are amazing.

In pre-testing of the first 10 patients, 40% to 80% of them could not do basic computer functions. After receiving a Chromebook and six classes on digital literacy, 90% were able to turn on their laptops, connect to the internet, use a keyboard, conduct a web search and save data to a device. They’ve also learned how to be safe on the internet, how to save passwords, do internet banking and access telehealth.

This progress demonstrates that a partnership like the one forged among Easterseals, Comcast and KMHS can make a difference, with each partner bringing their unique strengths to the table. Comcast has the resources and its Digital Navigators for training, KMHS has the population with a critical need and Easterseals Washington has the knowledge of disabilities, trained staff and am Enhanced Lift Zone.

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