YWCA New Britain recently became one of 12 YWCA associations to receive $25,000 in funding from the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation to support digital equity programming.
“Comcast has a longstanding commitment to advancing digital equity, closing the digital divide, and supporting digital literacy training,” said Dennis Mathew, Senior Vice President of Comcast’s Western New England region which is headquartered in Connecticut. “We’re pleased to provide this grant to YWCA New Britain so they can provide the women in their program with the digital tools and skills that will enable them to build a better future.”
In partnership with the Central Connecticut Family Literacy Center (CCFLC) and the Islamic Center of Central Connecticut (IACC), the YWCA is using this funding to expand its family literacy offerings to include digital literacy courses focused on beginner and intermediate computer skills.
Digital literacy is a growing necessity in nearly every aspect of the current workforce, from the application process to essential job functions. The new courses at the CCFLC at YWCA New Britain are designed to teach women how to operate search engines, compose emails, understand online safety precautions, and use different programs that will help them maintain jobs and self-sustainability.
The digital literacy classes build upon skills currently taught in the CCFLC’s GED and ESL courses where in addition to math and reading, women complete college and career readiness work. This includes computer activities like composing resumes, filling out online job and college applications, signing up for citizenship and driver’s license tests, and much more.
Childcare is provided on-site, free of charge, so mothers can concentrate on their classes knowing their children are being cared for. In addition, teachers at the CCFLC are multilingual, giving Spanish and Arabic-speaking women the chance to learn with fewer cultural and language barriers.
“Through this work, we are especially excited to expand our partnerships with the IACC and Jiran (جيران) program, which are helping make the YWCA a trusted resource for New Britain’s growing Arabic-speaking community,” said YWCA New Britain Executive Director Tracey Madden-Hennessey. “Fluency in digital skills is critical for women of all backgrounds, both personally and professionally.”
YWCA New Britain deeply appreciates the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation and YWCA USA for supporting this effort. Moving forward, the agency plans to continue building the digital literacy program to reach more residents and establish a focus on workforce development.