PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ When was the last time your neighbor across the street gave you $100,000?
Verizon, which has an office building across the street from the Providence Public Library, is giving the library a $100,000 grant earmarked for educating the public on how to use technology and developing workforce opportunities statewide.
The library said in a statement that it plans to put the grant toward expanding current programs of online literacy and to also create a program teaching people how to repair digital devices.
That skill is needed for “underserved populations who are most affected by the digital divide,” said the library’s education director, Karisa Tashjian.
Right now, students are able to use computers at the library’s “Learning Lounge” to study language and more, and it’s a big benefit when they can augment that learning on smartphone apps, according to the library’s Tonia Mason.
Examples cited include Maria Quinonez, who’s both teaching and learning ─ showing fellow members how to use technology as a member of a local Digital Literacy Corps, but also taking English and GED classes.
The library also noted it serves more than 2,000 Rhode Island residents every year with its Technology Pathway classes which help people learn basic computer skills as well as advanced skills like software coding and data analytics.
Verizon’s regional vice president of state government affairs, Donna Cupelo, said the company wants to help programs that will help close social disparities — and make sure their technology and have a meaningful impact on the community.