City of Seattle and Comcast Launch ‘Digital Bridge’ Program for Low-income Job Seekers


File Photo from Comcast: Two Somali Women of Highline College working on a laptop

by Seattle IT

Seattle’s Office of Economic Development (OED) recently joined with Comcast and a variety of partners – including the Seattle Information Technology Department – to launch the Digital Bridge program, a pilot that provides low-income job seekers with free laptops and broadband connectivity to bolster their digital skills.

“While a device alone will not solve the vast inequalities that affect people of color and underserved communities, a reliable internet connection, technology skills, and access to a computer are critical to economic opportunity,” said Saad Bashir, the City of Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer.

Comcast contributed $50,000 to purchase 200 refurbished laptops from the computer recycling nonprofit InterConnection. In early July, the first cohort of participants, all people of color, received refurbished computers to use in an online workforce development program through the Seattle Jobs Initiative. OED is providing an additional $50,000 to evaluate and track the pilot project.

Seattle IT’s Community Technology and Broadband Team provided essential technical assistance to the project, helping coordinate access to broadband, creating a channel for distributing the laptops, facilitating tech support for recipients, and developing a program evaluation plan.

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