Woman on her laptop in the library

New program launching to help ensure everyone can participate in today’s digital world. 

Just what is this digital divide we’re always hearing about? 

“The gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet, and those who do not.” 

-Oxford English Dictionary 

How much money you have—and what region of the country (or world) you live in—are just two of the factors that can affect which side of the digital divide you land on. So FRCC and Harmony Library are getting ready to help people in our communities navigate today’s digital landscape.  

Whether you need better access to technology, want to learn new skills, or you’re interested in helping others, keep reading to learn more… 

How Digitally Connected Are You?  

students in a computer lab

Take this brief digital self-assessment and think about how each item connects you to your community: 

  • Do you have a computer or laptop that is connected to the internet at home? 
  • Do you have a smartphone or tablet that is connected to the internet? 
  • Is your home internet service affordable? (consider your income and expenses for other essential services) 
  • Does your internet service meet your needs? (Is it reliable? Is the speed sufficient to meet the needs of your household?) 
  • Does everyone in your household have a quiet place to use technology? 
  • Reflect on your comfort level related to using technology. Are there any tasks or activities that you would like to do using technology but you cannot/are unable to do so? 
  • At work 
  • To shop and access public and private services 
  • To manage your finances 
  • To learn 
  • To access healthcare information and services 

Why Is This Chasm a Problem?  

Whether you answered yes to every item on that list or only one, you know that having access to an online device—and the skills to use it—are essential for your education, your career and your personal life. Unfortunately, not everyone in the United States has the same level of access or skills to participate fully in community life.  

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have little incentive to build expensive networks to reach every consumer. Also, even if a network is available in an area, it may not be affordable to all residents.  

Finally, not everyone feels comfortable navigating online spaces and may not know where they can get more help building their skills. 

Increasing access and comfort with technology is where Digital Navigators come in! 

Digital Navigator Program Launching 

AmeriCorps logo

The Harmony Library at Front Range Community College’s Larimer Campus is thrilled to participate in the new Digital Navigators of Larimer County program. This AmeriCorps initiative aims to build a more digitally equitable and inclusive community.  

The library and the college are joining this mission to bridge the digital divide and empower individuals in Larimer County with help navigating our digital landscape. 

What Will Digital Navigators Do? 

AmeriCorps members will meet one-on-one with community members, helping them achieve their digital literacy goals through personalized training. Digital Navigators will also host regular digital skills training classes for group learning. Community members and FRCC students can get help with: 

  • using social media, video communication tools, and email, 
  • applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program,  
  • uploading and scanning documents for receiving public assistance,  
  • accessing health information,  
  • learning how to Microsoft Office applications, 
  • obtaining low-cost devices 

These are just some of the wide variety of digital literacy options that a Digital Navigator can coach you through! 

Ready to Meet with a Digital Navigator? Coming in January! 

hands holding a tablet

Have you always meant to check if you qualify for more affordable internet, but are frustrated with the process?  

Are you interested in tools that can help you keep up with your FRCC classes and assignments?  

Did you have another technology or internet question you didn’t see in the list?  

The Digital Navigator is here to help! 

Starting in January 2024, you can set up a one-on-one appointment with a Larimer County Digital Navigator. This blog will be updated with the scheduling link and contact soon… 

FRCC Technology Supports Are There for Students… Wherever You Are 

Along with the new Digital Navigator program on our Larimer Campus, all FRCC students still have access to existing FRCC support for technology needs and questions. Here are other ways we can support you: 

  • Ask Financial Aid staff about using part of your financial aid award toward purchasing a laptop or applying for the Affordable Connectivity Program. 
  • Contact the IT Department if you’re running into challenges with your student email, S number, eWolf, or other campus technology. 
  • Visit one of the Computer Commons to participate in online discussion boards, write and print assignments, and check your email and social media. 
  • Meet with an Academic Success Center tutor for ideas on tech that can help you with studying, time management, and notetaking. 
  • Post to the Online Student Union about your tech challenges and triumphs – other students may share their own life hacks to find a good device or how they finally got cheaper internet. 
  • Review Online Learning tutorials for MyCourses (previously D2L). 
  • Drop by the Libraries or ask your question over the 24/7 library chat – our library staff can work with you on database questions and online research, as well as troubleshoot some technology problems. 

Ready to Make a Difference? 

Would you like to serve Larimer County residents through this exciting new program? Recruitment for a Digital Navigator at FRCC and other nearby locations is currently open! 

AmeriCorps members receive a range of benefits, including a bi-weekly living allowance, education award, paid local or virtual conference attendance, a laptop, mobile hotspot, loan forbearance, mileage reimbursement, and access to professional development opportunities. 

Consider applying if you are: 

  • Seeking fulfilling and rewarding work 
  • Experienced in coaching 
  • Experienced working with older adults 
  • Have a background teaching English Language Learners  
  • Transitioning into a new industry 

Apply Now! 

Various positions are available, from three-quarter-time (1200 hours of service) to half-time (900 hours of service), which can fit in with your student schedule. There are also host sites spread across Larimer County, ensuring accessibility for all residents. 

If you are passionate about bridging the digital divide and promoting digital inclusion in Larimer County, apply to become a Digital Navigator. Choose the service hour opportunity that suits your schedule and visit the AmeriCorps page to submit your application. 

Have a question? Call (970) 962-3154 or email flannery.lier@cityofloveland.org 

Related Posts