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

Skills in the States Forum looks toward infrastructure funding

The Skills in the States Forum recently hosted by the National Skills Coalition brought together professionals from all over the country in the workforce, government and education sectors as well as those supporting them through credentialing and other related services to talk about trends, best practices and innovative solutions. Much of the conversations focused on […]

Read More

Bridging the Digital Divide through Digital Divide Simulation

The first Digital Divide Simulation event on Nov. 9 at the Central branch of the Kansas City Public Library increased awareness for the socioeconomic setbacks faced by Kansas Citians living on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. Participants were asked to take on the persona of an individual to complete tasks for “one month” measured as four, 15-minute long, “weeks.” Tasks assigned to participants included enrolling their children in school, finding housing information online, and applying to government programs, such as the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Read More