With a grant from the City of Cambridge Covid-19 Fund, MassHire Metro North Workforce Board (MHMNWB) is working to help bridge the “Digital Divide” with the goal of increasing access to employment and training opportunities, particularly for those most impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
The funds from the grant have been used to purchase Chromebooks and Mobile hotspots for 20 students of the Cambridge Community Learning Center (CCLC)
. As CCLC’s classes went online in the Spring, many students without computers and reliable internet service lost access to a critical support and CCLC scrambled to borrow laptops from libraries and purchase as many as they could afford for their students. But as things began to reopen in August/September, the libraries needed the laptops back for their patrons. Once again, many students lost access to learning. This grant will help allow students to continue their online learning with CCLC by providing free Chromebooks and Mobile hotspots with one year of high-speed internet service.
A huge challenge for us at MHMNWB was simply finding Chromebooks to purchase for the CCLC students. Our unexpected hero came in the form of Aimee Toomey, an Account Manager at Best Buy for Business. She listened to the need, she cared and she worked FAST to get me a quote and to access 20 Chromebooks from their limited inventory!! Without her, I would have been shopping on multiple sites, buying one Chromebook at a time, and spending countess hours keeping track of the multiple purchases. Accessing affordable mobile hotspots was also a challenge! A non-profit partner, Mobile Beacon, totally sold out of their inventory. Fortunately, we have been able to secure the hotspots and internet service trough Mobile Citizen. Chromebooks and hotspots will be delivered to CCLC’s students in the next few days!