For the past 20 years, Kramden has been a leader in advancing digital equity in North Carolina. Starting this year, Forsyth County has contracted the Kramden Institute to assist with their own digital equity efforts.
WinstonNet and Digital Bridges Forsyth (DBF) were awarded $2 million to fund digital inclusion programs in the county. The funding comes from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund grant from the City of Winston-Salem. With this grant, DBF will build a computer lab at the MLK Recreation Center, upgrade the existing Community Technology Center, and deliver training and devices to eligible residents.
In 2023, DBF and Kramden Institute began working together to bring devices and digital skills training to individuals in Forsyth County. Over the next 12 months, Kramden will train Community Technology Instructors (CTIs) to teach the Kramden curriculum. CTIs will then teach this digital skills course to members of their community in Forsyth County and distribute laptops to everyone who completes a class. A total of 1,250 eligible residents will receive training and devices through the program.
The model for this project is based on Kramden’s Train the Trainer program. Since 2015, Kramden has been training CTIs to teach Computer Basics classes across NC. Like all Kramden Train-the-Trainer projects, the Forsyth CTIs will receive a stipend for each class they deliver.
In addition to Kramden’s Computer Essentials course, the team has built a new Job Readiness curriculum for this project. Eligible residents who already have some computer basics experience can take this course to develop the skills they will need to gain and maintain employment in our increasingly digital world. According to research by the National Skills Coalition published in February 2023, 92% of all jobs analyzed required digital skills. This demand for digital skills was found “in almost every occupation, including entry-level and frontline positions.” In the Job Readiness course, participants will learn how to use office programs, format and edit a resume and cover letter, use professional email correspondence, and keep their accounts secure.
Along with CTI training and devices, Kramden has created a resource guide for Forsyth County residents. The guide includes information on where residents can go for more training, low-cost or free devices, and other digital inclusion resources. The guide will be available to CTIs, Digital Navigators, and community members.
The Kramden team is excited to be part of the digital inclusion efforts of Forsyth County and WinstonNet. You can learn more about the project by visiting digitalbridgesforsyth.org