La Colaborativa Secures Major Grant, Deploys New Digital Equity Program

With over 40% of low-income residents lacking access to affordable, reliable internet, the digital divide profoundly impacts marginalized communities and prevents economic stability in Chelsea and beyond. La Colaborativa is pleased to announce it has secured a transformative $497,621 grant from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI), in conjunction with the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board. “We’re grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration, as well as our partners at Massachusetts. Broadband Institute and MassHire, for this historic investment,” announced Alex Train, Chief Operating Officer of La Colaborativa. “Through this new initiative, La Colaborativa looks forward to serving residents, from young adults seeking to work in the web design field to seniors looking to remain connected to their loved ones.” In an age where digital access is fundamental, a lack of affordable, accessible technology prevents residents from obtaining a living wage job, connecting with family, completing schoolwork, and accessing medical care. La Colaborativa will deliver a first-of-its-kind, intergenerational digital equity program in Chelsea and the greater region, with the ultimate aim of helping all residents access the skills, resources, and opportunities to lead connected and upwardly mobile lives. “These grants ensure that thousands of residents in communities across the state will have the tools and training they need,” said MBI Director Michael Baldino. “The digital divide is narrowing, and that is due to our strategic efforts to expand infrastructure and boost access. When high-speed internet is available in a Massachusetts neighborhood, these programs ensure that residents in that neighborhood can take advantage of everything the digital economy has to offer.” Through a multifaceted approach, La Colaborativa will recruit and train local residents as Digital Navigators, offering workforce development and career readiness programming, in conjunction with MBI and MassHire. Stationed in Chelsea, the Digital Navigators will host an array of workforce training opportunities and educational classes for the community, from workshops on using smartphones to job training for residents pursuing careers in web development, logistics, and other sectors. “The MassHire Metro North Workforce Board (MNWB), through its Work to Thrive initiative, are delighted to be partnering with La Colaborativa on this important regional investment in digital equity and access,” said MNWB President and CEO Chris Albrizio-Lee. “La Colaborativa has been a long-standing partner to MNWB on various workforce initiatives targeted at Chelsea and surrounding communities. We look forward to working together to close the digital divide and increase access and opportunity for all.” In tandem, the Digital Navigators will host publicly accessible computer labs and offer a range of technical support to help residents troubleshoot device issues, access telehealth appointments, and enroll in affordable internet service. To address the lack of affordable computer and internet access, La Colaborativa will distribute over 1,500 laptops and internet hotspots, while providing ongoing technical support for residents enrolled in the program. As part of MBI’s Digital Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Consortium, La Colaborativa seeks to make meaningful strides towards eliminating digital inequities, uplifting communities across the Metro North and North Shore regions, encompassing cities such as Revere, Chelsea, Everett, and Malden. La Colaborativa’s comprehensive approach is focused on fostering a digitally inclusive future where everyone has the opportunity to realize equitable prosperity. For more information on this pivotal new initiative and how you can support or benefit from its programs, please visit La Colaborativa is a community-based organization dedicated to empowering, uplifting, and celebrating Latinx and immigrant communities through comprehensive direct services, leadership development, and advocacy. With a strong focus on digital equity and inclusion, La Colaborativa works tirelessly to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, has access to the digital resources they need to succeed.

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