Our mission is to provide low-income residents of the service area the opportunity to earn a computer, receive basic computer literacy and Internet training and world wide web access, along with assist participants in making connections with community resources for further training that may lead to employment and/or educational enrichment for participants and their families.
The potential participant’s must take and provide the results of a Reading, Writing and Math Assessment test which can be taken at the LCC Assessment Center for free during regular business hours. Prospective participants must fill out a simple one page application, provide a Driver’s License or State ID, with proof of income, usually in the form of last years W-2 and/or Income Tax report or benefit supporting documentation for disability, DHS assistance, or unemployment. The report or proof of income must show their name, as well as the number in their household for which they provide support or who are dependents. This information is used to determine their income qualification status and what program funding, if any, they may be eligible for. A telephone number must be provided that the participant can respond to within 72 hours of acceptance in the low-income program, due to first come first serve basis and the demand for the training programs during peak times.
The primary focus of the basic training is on Office Applications such as word processing, spreadsheets and presentation programs. In addition, the program establishes the skill set and habit of using e-mail services as a business communication tool. The primary focus of the intermediate and advance training is to prepare for testing and certifications, along with entrepreneurial program offerings.
Closing the Digital Gap (CTDG) has had monthly classes year round since 2002. The basic classes are four (4) weeks and are held Monday-Thursday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the summer, then from 9 a.m. to 12:00Noon or 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the rest of the year. CTDG does special group workshops on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m for Surfing Seniors program, by appointment only, along with a Technology Tuesday for local non-profits and micro-enterprise businesses or entrepreneurs. For more information, please call (517) 485-7581.
Most programs result in the participants receiving a computer system at the conclusion of the training series provided they attend all of the structured class sessions, as well as some of the Open Lab sessions. We will also arrange for one year of Free Dial-up Internet service from ACD.net (of Lansing) or Triton (of Grand Rapids) provided they have phone service (a land line) in their home, which will phase out in 2016. Also, participants are eligible to enroll in other internet access programs for $10/month, with a router purchase, for 4G service for wireless connection of approximately 5 to 10 devices dependent upon the type of equipment/router purchased. The Wireless Router internet program for $10/month is especially for participants who need more than just simple dial-up services or need to connect multiple devices (computer, laptop, tablet, etc.). Some restrictions do apply and participants must re-qualify annually. To inquire or get further info, please call (517) 485-7581 or send an email to CTDGinbox@gmail.com to request more information on internet access options.
While our primary participants have been adults in the 20 to 45 year old age range either unemployed or working in low-income jobs, we have run pilot programs with several specific groups including the following:
- Origami program
- Foster Grandparent program
- H.O.P.E Scholars program.
- St. Vincent DePaul’s Youth program
- Head Start Families, often young single mothers on assistance or working low-income jobs.
- Community Mental Health clients that have mental or physical challenges.
- Lansing School District youth identified as at-risk for becoming school drop-outs (6th grade to 12th grade).
- Refugees with minimal English language skills (primarily individuals from war torn countries sponsored by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in downtown Lansing.)
- Brief training seminars to officials from Ghana, Africa which has also resulted in our providing over 300 computer systems and supplies for use in their schools.
- Computer skill development training for unemployed and under-employed WorkFirst Clients reporting to the Cedar Street Michigan Works facility and subsequent enrollment of many of these clients in the CTDG Port Of Entry, computer ownership program.
These programs were provided in cooperation with the indicated organizations for free or minimal cost to the agency. While we have successfully provided computer ownership to over a thousand families, the results of our efforts may not be realized for a few more years. At the very least, we have given these individuals and families a tool to improve their lifestyle and the opportunity to become part of the Global community to assist in improving their economic status and skill set.