Digital Skills Training

The knowledge to capitalize on the technology.

classes held at Connecting for Good

students enrolled


Access is only half the battle. With a broadband infrastructure supported from multiple providers including Google Fiber, Comcast/Time Warner, Consolidated Communications and AT&T, Kansas City has a full range of connection options, from the low-end of the spectrum (single Mbps) to gigabit speeds. There is also a variety of hardware options, from low-cost refurbished PCs to public computing centers. But when it comes to matters of digital inclusion, all of this technology is meaningless if people do not have the skills and understanding to use it to achieve their fullest potential. A 2012 survey conducted by Google Fiber and Global Prairie revealed that 17 percent of Kansas Citians (roughly 80,000) do not have access to the internet. Of that number, 41 think the internet is irrelevant and 28 percent lack access. Demographically, 44 percent are seniors, 46 percent are African-American, 42 percent make less than $25,000 a year and 64 percent have a high school education or less. These numbers paint a clear connection between digital literacy and economic viability. Without the skills to navigate life in a digital world, one cannot apply for most jobs, access important health or financial resources, or simply communicate on a day-to-day basis.


Digital literacy training forms the cornerstone of any effort to address digital inclusion. Once the technology pieces are in place, in the form of affordable computers and low-cost network access,  real investments must be made in digital literacy training. Volunteer work alone is not adequate to sustain the effort. In Detroit, $3.1 million in grant money was awarded to provide Internet access, computers, and training to over 5,000 low-income residents. While the project encountered many barriers to building a new network, 1,500 of 2,100 residents who had been trained through the program began purchasing their own Internet access, suggesting that this training alone was able to significantly bridge a perceived economic gap. There are already a number of training programs under way in Kansas City, some of which have received awards from the Digital Inclusion Fund. These programs provide crucial training in skills including:

  • Email use
  • Search engine use
  • Health/medical info search
  • Government services search
  • Job applications
  • Social networking
  • Online shopping
  • Online banking
  • Classes/certification online

These programs must be supported as part of a metrowide Digital Inclusion Plan and helmed, in part, by the Digital Inclusion Coalition.  

Projects in action

Digital Services & Support @ The LAMP Campus

KC Digital Drive’s Digital Services & Support Center is a digital commons in KC’s east side and is ‘the place’ for people to come to get personal assistance and IT support, device training, digital skills training, and to help level up direct service agencies’ ability to offer digital literacy and digital navigation through trainings, workshops, and technical support at the DSSC.

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Cord-Cutting Workshops

“Cord-cutting” is an emerging trend where people aim to reduce their cable TV bill or completely get rid of their cable service altogether by taking advantage of free or low-cost streaming options instead.

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MO Goes Tech

Organizations are invited to apply for the first MO Goes Tech cohort, and each selected organization will receive a $2,000 microgrant that includes $1,000 for a stipend for the staff trainer and $1,000 is unrestricted funds to boost digital service capacity.

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KC Goes Tech

New microgrant program helps expand the ability of community organizations to include digital training in their offerings, and to network more effectively with existing digital literacy providers.

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Digital Equity for Community Health Workers

Community health workers (CHWs) are support personnel to the healthcare process of the people they serve. Currently, in the Kansas City region, their work especially includes linking the care environment to the social services environment. This has come about as more policy makers understand the power of the social determinants of health in patient outcomes.

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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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