The Digital Bridge Foundation will equip 230 low-income families with computers, training, and links to each other and to their communities through a project called Technology Goes Home (TGH). The project's innovative approach will involve four Neighborhood Technology Collaboratives (NTCs), which represent coalitions of non-profit service providers. These NTCs will select families who are trying to improve their education and economic status. Each family will receive a free computer, extensive training, and broadband Internet service (using DSL or digital subscriber line technology) in exchange for at least thirty hours of community service. The service will involve tutoring less-skilled families, educating linguistically diverse communities about the importance of technology, and providing support services such as transportation and childcare for training classes. In addition to extensive training geared toward affecting employability for the adults and for the high school students, TGH families will be connected online to more than 20 community-based organizations. This will give them direct access to housing specialists, teachers, librarians, health-care providers, business leaders, as well as other parents and children, creating a supportive online community. Project leaders intend to improve grade level skills of students; this is important because in 2003 Massachusetts students will have to pass a Comprehensive Assessment System for high school graduation. In addition, the project team expects to be able to show that the project has assisted more working parents in finding higher paying technology-related jobs.
Communities across the nation are struggling to bridge the digital divide. The Technology Goes Home project reflects a well-thought-out approach to bringing traditionally underserved communities into greater economic and social prosperity through the use of technology. It is unique in its plan to provide new, not recycled or used, computers to low-income families and to provide them with broadband Internet connections directly into their homes. Also significant is the effort to work with adults and children to facilitate intergenerational learning. The evaluation team, led by faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will help ensure that users are satisfied and that the project is producing its intended results. The TGH project will serve as a replicable model for bridging the digital divide.
The Boston Digital Bridge Foundation will work closely with the Mayor's office, Linking Up Villages (MUSIC), TechBoston, City Year, Verizon, Microsoft, HiQ Computers, 3Com, Codman Square Health Center, South Boston Neighborhood House, Allston Brighton CDC, MIT, Harvard, and more than 40 non-profits that provide services to Boston's neediest families.