Houston, TX

Revolutionizing Future Lives: City of Houston's New Pilot Program Teach Low-income Neighborhood Citizens to Use Computer

Clarence Walker

Revolutionizing Future Lives: City of Houston's New Pilot Program Teach Low-income Neighborhood Citizens to Use Computers

By Clarence Walker

Nationwide Program Serves Low Income Americans

Technology has advanced at the speed of light, reaching into the world's population within the last two decades and transforming lives to break the cycle of computer literacy in unimaginable ways. Local government officials are capitalizing on today's technology power to improve the lives of those who has never used a computer. Now the City of Houston has implemented a state-of-the-art technology pilot program by hiring tech experts to visit four of Houston's low-income historic neighborhoods, Acres Home, Kashmere Gardens, Magnolia Park-Manchester, and Sunnyside, to teach citizens in those designated areas how to use computers. Comcast Texas and the SERJobs program partnered with the City of Houston Mayor's Office of 'Complete Communities' to kick off the program on Friday, November 18th, 2022.

"This pilot program hits at the heart of our organization's mission to empower individuals to transform their lives through education, training, employment, and financial empowerment," said SERJobs CEO Sheroo Mukhtiar during the launch announcement at Houston's Acres Home Community Center. Houston's Digital Navigator pilot program is one more added to over 12 or more programs nationwide that Comcast is funding as part of Project UP, the company's $1 billion comprehensive initiative to advance digital equity.

More Than 10 Million Americans Served

Comcast's Internet Essentials has connected more than 10 million underserved Americans to broadband services at home, including more than a combined 1 million Texas residents. The innovative program will last approximately 18 months which extends into 2024. The title for tech experts is called "Digitial Navigators" whose job is to provide one-on-one support to thousands of Houstonians in need of learning how to get online and make their experience a positive one. By having technology mentors, much-needed digital skills can empower not only a few individuals this program can empower an entire neighborhood to focus on the inner workings of internet access.

The Value of Digital Navigators

Comcast Texas External Affairs Director Misha McClure and the City of Houston Director of Complete Communities Shannon Buggs discussed the program with KPRC TV Anchor-Reporter Khambrel Marshall. Buggs explained the intricate value of Digital Navigators assisting low-income citizens to become computer literate can help fill the gaps within the digital divide. "The work digital navigators will do in our complete communities may seem simple, but it's very necessary," Shannon Buggs said. We help Houstonians gain financial empowerment through financial counseling. Buggs added, "In today's digital economy, 'if you don't have the right digital skills," you start at a disadvantage. "This program will change that."

Local Newsmedia Covered the Event

Houston-based Fox-26 TV News was also on hand to report on the Digital Navigator Program. Journalist Ahmed Sharma interviewed Acres Home resident Bernadette Wingate, age 74. Wingate explained why she needed to learn as much as possible about technology. "Change is difficult. It is, but you need to change that mindset and have an open mind," Sharma reported in his story. "I want to know; I want to seek and find out it all. I don't want to just stay in the old way where I write down everything." To support SERJobs' efforts with the unique program, Comcast donated the non-profit 50 laptops to support the Digital Navigators program. Carver High School students got a big bonus when Comcast donated additional 50 laptops to help students resume their studies when they're not in the classroom. A freshman student named Zyla expressed relief at having a new laptop at home year-round especially during summer months when students must return school laptops. "I've worked really hard to be in advanced classes so I always have a lot of extra work that I must do at home," Zyla said. "Without having access to the internet it's really hard to stay ahead and reach my goals."

Study Conducted Showing How Lives Improved As Result of Computer Training

According to a recent Boston Consulting Group Study supported by Comcast, digital navigators hold the key to reducing digital and socioeconomic inequities. The study showed how citizens who received hands-on assistance with the computer's internet and learning how to type emails were more likely to use the internet to improve their lives.

. 1 in 3 reported obtaining new employment with a higher income.

. More than 65 percent now have internet access or a connected device at home.

. Almost half now have better healthcare.

. 40 percent received support with basic needs like food, rent and housing.


"This digital world revolutionized how people obtained employment," Sheroo Mukhitar said to a loud applause at the Acres Home Community Center. "Applicants must feel comfortable and confident utilizing digital skills in their job hunt while navigating through a very competitive workforce. We know this is a step forward in helping Houstonians have successful lives."

Bernadette Wingate talks with instructorPhoto bySource: Free Image: Comcast of Texas

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I am a freelance news reporter, investigative journalist, true crime writer and historical researcher. I write about community news, crime, business, real estate, human interest, entertainment & politics. Expect to get the stories that matters most.

Houston, TX

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