A program first established in Blue Earth County, known as PC’s for People, was recently showcased at a ConnectALL Summit on Digital Inclusion held in Washington, D.C. at the White House to discuss best practices and ideas on how to modernize internet connectivity legislation for low income users across the nation.
Andrew Elofson, Supportive Housing Social Worker for Blue Earth County and founder of PC’s for People and Casey Sorenson, Executive Director for PC’s for People were invited to speak at the summit to help share solutions that are working in Blue Earth County and the Twin Cities along with other locations as part of PC’s for People mission to help connect low income individuals and families to technology. Elofson and Sorenson also had the opportunity to represent PC’s for People in discussions surrounding the implementation of new provisions to Federal legislation that expands telephone connectivity funding (known as the FCC Lifeline Program) to broadband services.
“It was an honor to be invited to the ConnectALL Summit for an opportunity to share the successful work of PC’s for People and how the work began in Blue Earth County eighteen years ago with the mission of providing opportunities to low income individuals and families through donated computers and devices,” stated Andy Elofson, Blue Earth County Supportive Housing Social Worker. “It’s exciting to see that a program with a very humble beginning can be a model for other areas across the United States on how to help solve digital inclusion and device dissemination issues for those in need.”
The ConnectALL Summit brought together a number of leaders and groups to raise awareness regarding digital inclusion and to help map out strategies for reaching the goal of connecting 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. Additionally, innovative approaches to tackling the key barriers to broadband adoption, affordable services, low-cost devices, digital literacy and new resources available to communities to help close the digital divide were all part of the agenda. To learn more about the ConnectALL initiative visit; https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/09/fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-connectall-initiative.
Since the PC’s for People Program started in 1998 with its first donation of a computer from Blue Earth County to a low-income teenage boy who had a talent for technology, approximately 50,000 computers have been distributed to those in need along with internet connectivity being provided to 15,000 people across 45 states. Today, PC’s for People’s mission continues with providing used computers and technology devices in addition to support services and affordable hot spot technology for low-income individuals and families.
PCs for People, a 501(c)3 nonprofit headquartered in Minnesota, works to close the digital divide across the United States by providing computers, low-cost internet and technical support to low-income individuals and families. From its humble beginnings, the organization has grown to equip thousands each year through multiple locations and a new online platform that has expanded nationwide. Additional information ab PC’s for People is available on the organization’s website at; http://pcsforpeople.org/.