Immigrants and refugees participating in English as a second language (ESL) classes face a variety of challenges as they acclimate to a new country. Some may have literacy difficulties, making it even harder for them to learn a new language since they are unable to read their native language. Additionally, they may also be brand new to technology and lack even the most basic digital skills. 

Helping families new to the U.S. get set up in their home involves many steps to ensure they have the utilities and resources they need, and immigrant- and refugee-serving agencies are now integrating digital skills into their ESL classes as well as helping them sign up for internet service. This includes finding ways to make internet access more affordable.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) offers a helpful benefit of up to $30/month for households that may struggle to pay their internet bill. For organizations that serve low-income families, however, it can seem a bit overwhelming to know how to help people get through the process of signing up. To help staff get up to speed quickly, we’ve been hosting one-hour-long ACP training sessions to complement the on-demand training offered by EducationSuperHighway

On September 5, English as a second language (ESL) teachers from across the metro came together to participate in an in-person training session at the Johnson County Central Resource Library. There as part of the Back to School Bus Tour’s Online for All roundtable that KC Digital assisted in planning, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenwercel and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona joined the group to offer their perspective on why it’s important for ESL educators to help those new to the U.S. get access to the internet and learn digital skills. 

If you’re interested in getting yourself or your staff trained to help those you serve get signed up for the ACP, the next virtual training opportunities are October 5 and October 19

Further Reading

Empowering Older Adults: A Partner Spotlight on AARP’s SCSEP Program

In a world increasingly reliant on digital technologies, access to digital literacy and employment opportunities is crucial for people of all ages. Yet, older adults, often overlooked in discussions about technology, face unique challenges in navigating this digital landscape. Recognizing this disparity, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has been actively working to bridge the digital divide, ensuring that older Americans have access to opportunities to earn new digital skills and valuable work experience.

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Digital Equity Is “More Important Than Ever”

Ensuring nobody is left behind Last year, the National Skills Coalition, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, analyzed job postings throughout the country and found that 92% of positions require at least one digital skill, while “previous NSC research found one-third of workers don’t have the foundational digital skills necessary to enter […]

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Digital Inclusion Fund Relaunches with Open Call for Applications

The KC Digital Inclusion Fund is a charitable fund led by KC Digital Drive and administered at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation with an Advisory Council. In 2024, the Fund will award up to $250,000 across three grant areas: 1) Devices, 2) I.T. Support, and 3) New Courses. For more information or to apply, visit

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