May 7, 2020
A new toolkit to help connect South Bend residents with digital training resources and no cost park-and-access wifi locations has been released, after being developed in a partnership between the City of South Bend and local nonprofit enFocus.
“Now more than ever we have to do all we can to address to digital divide.” said City of South Bend Chief Innovation Officer Denise Linn Riedl. “According to the American Community Survey, about 30% of South Bend households lack at-home broadband subscriptions and about 20% lack computers. This is obviously a major disadvantage when it comes to increased demands on e-learning, telework, and telemedicine during social distancing.”
Throughout South Bend, there are a number of local organizations that have outdoor internet access points, including public libraries, municipal buildings, and school buses. In addition to a map of sites with no cost access, the toolkit also directs residents to low cost internet service provider offerings available in our area. Users will also find access to a wide range of digital literacy training programs to meet their training needs.
“This toolkit is was informed by a wide collection of assets and programs across the City, the St. Joseph County Public Library, the South Bend Community School Corporation, and more.” said enFocus Executive Director Andrew Wiand. “As a connector and regional collaborator, enFocus was proud to knit all of these efforts together in a centralized resource that can be updated continuously for residents.”
Local organizations are welcome and encouraged to include/embed this link in their digital communications and web sites. A paper version of the toolkit will also be distributed to City of South Bend residents at food distribution sites and via mail through regular City communications including resident utility bills.
The Centralized Digital Inclusion Toolkit, including the map, can be found at https://southbendin.gov/covid-19-resources-support/digital-toolkit/.