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Milwaukee’s first digital literacy lab aims to teach adults critical computer skills

Computer keyboard
Posted at 10:48 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 18:30:03-05

MILWAUKEE — A new space at Employ Milwaukee aims to provide computer skills training to help members of the community in a digital age.

In a quiet room, the sounds of keyboards and mouse clicks. In this space are Milwaukeeans who are determined to learn technology.

Among them, Cedric Garner, who is one week away from graduating his tech literacy class at Employ Milwaukee. He’s one of many in the community looking to get up to speed in this ever-changing society.

“This class has taught me a lot of things. How to navigate better, how to use the search engines,” Garner said.

Garner is part of the first class to utilize employ Milwaukee's new digital literacy lab. It includes four weeks of training on internet, email, applications and more. At the end of it all, each participant is given a new PC.

“It’s just critical to this community,” he said.

The lab is a partnership between Employ Milwaukee and digital inclusion organization EveryoneOn.

The goal is to help people in underrepresented communities earn the technological skills they need.

“The pandemic just exposed so much and really when it comes down to this digital space, we all function in, we saw how we still could not help some people because they didn’t have the technology or the understanding to be able to navigate,” said Chytania Brown, CEO of Employ Milwaukee.

Classes will be held at the Employ Milwaukee computer lab in a socially distanced COVID-19 safe area while instructors teach virtually. The Milwaukee Public Library will also expand the classes' capacity by hosting some participants in two area libraries.

Skills taught in the classes include how to operate a computer, explore the internet, use email, use Microsoft Office apps and other crucial skills. Each class is two hours, meeting once a week for four weeks.

“In today’s employment climate, computer literacy is a must,” said Brown. “We are excited to partner with EveryoneOn to help bridge the gap for underrepresented communities to equip residents with the technical skills they need to access viable employment and careers.

According to research published by Frontiers In Education, the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled what’s known as “digital exclusion.”

Local leaders said they’re applauding the effort to turn things around.

“There is a digital disparity that lives on right here in our own community,” said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.

"Economic development must include paths of success for more people here in the City of Milwaukee,” Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson added.

In the meantime, it is people like Garner who are already seeing the value of taking a little time, to show us all, you’re never too old to learn a new trick in today’s world.

“With these skills now, I’ll be able to do everything on a computer that I feel comfortable with doing,” he said.

Employ Milwaukee is located at 2342 N. 27th St., Milwaukee, WI 53210

Read their full announcement below:

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