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Comcast and Kay Tita bridge digital divide: training high school students to build websites for small businesses

David Pierre-Louis works with a student at a computer in a classroom.

Digital literacy continues to be a barrier for people of color and those whose primary language is not English in the Seattle metro area. Bridging the digital divide means finding ways to help youth and adults gain the skills necessary to be successful.

A recent study looking at Seattle’s technology access and adoption discovered that two out of five residents need some assistance completing digital tasks. It was also clear that “older adults, Black residents, and individuals whose primary language spoken at home is not English could benefit from support in bolstering their digital skillsets as could those who earn at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.” The study also notes that:

  • More than nine out of ten (92%) households have Internet at home and on the go; however, that falls to 75% for those whose primary language is not English. (Executive Summary)
  • Those below 150% of the poverty level are 30 percentage points less likely to have a laptop or tablet. (Executive Summary)

To help address some of the concerns noted in the study, Comcast has partnered nonprofits throughout the Northwest. Recently, Comcast began working with nonprofit Kay Tita as it trains students from Seattle’s Franklin High School to build websites for small businesses, many of them minority owned. The goal is to help bridge the digital divide in Seattle for students and to help minority owned, first generation small business owners.

“Digital equity is key,” said David Pierre-Lous, founder and executive director of Kay Tita. “A lot of the business owners we are serving are minorities, immigrants or older, so we need to level the playing field as much as possible.”

At the Comcast Lift Zone at Goodwill Evergreen, Franklin High School students learn how to build websites for small business owners. The program is also part of a youth web development program funded by the Seattle Office of Economic Developmental in partnership with the Seattle public school system. 

“I heard about the Kay Tita program from one of my friends,” said Christopher, a high school student at Franklin. “I love that I’m able to help small businesses make their own websites. It’s great that Comcast wants to help small businesses.

Comcast’s support helped Kay Tita to promote the program, pay students a stipend to do the work and provide free websites to small businesses owner to help expand their business.

“I worked with the students to build the website, which was a great blessing to have a free website, said Olayinka Ola, a fashion designer and owner of Ayo Collections. “As a small business owner, we need all the help we can get and we’re very grateful for that.”

More about Kay Tita

Kay Tita is an integrity-driven social enterprise that is dedicated to connecting resources, access, and opportunities to fuel the dreams and aspirations of historically under-resourced communities.

In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Kay Tita prioritizes programming that creates safe physical environments for youth to receive the education and resources to explore the direction they need to move away from violence, poverty, trauma, and stagnancy. 

In Washington, USA, Kay Tita provides direct technical assistance, leveraging public-private sector partnerships to innovatively bridge the digital divide that impacts immigrant, minority, and small businesses located in underserved, low-income areas. 

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