By Kiarra Solomon
ABOVE PHOTO: Philadelphia residents take advantage of internet classes at one of the Philly Keyspots locations around the city.
(Photos courtesy of OIC)
Despite all of our society’s technological advances over the past decade, 41 percent of Philadelphian’s still live without access to the internet and basic computer skills. In an attempt to tackle this issue, Freedom Rings Partnership has started a citywide initiative, Philly Keyspots, to provide broadband access and computer training to the residents of Philadelphia. Freedom Rings Partnership is comprised of several organizations around the city including the Philadelphia OIC.
There are 77 Keyspot locations throughout the city, including one at the Philadelphia OIC office. These locations offer internet access as well as computer literacy training to Philadelphia residents. Additionally, the program offers access to Mobile Keyspots called NOMAD (Neighborhood Opportunity through Mobile Accessible Destinations), which can be dispatched throughout the city. NOMAD offers up to 40 laptop computers available for various uses such as employee trainings or digital literacy classes. These Mobile Keyspots are equipped with their own internet access, projectors, and printers, and only require access to one outlet for setup. This service is available to community organizations, as well as small businesses.
The Freedom Rings Partnership is a federally funded Recovery Act (ARRA) program. It is made possible through support from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration through its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The funding to create the Philly Keyspots came from a $6.4 million Public Computer Center grant awarded City of Philadelphia, and an $11.8 million grant awarded to the Urban Affairs Coalition.
Philadelphia OIC is an education and training institute. It is the largest educational and employment network of training programs in the United States. Philadelphia OIC trains over 1,300 individuals annually and is now in its 48th year of service to the Philadelphia community.
To date, the Philly Keyspot program has helped over 64,000 people in the Philadelphia area get training or access the internet. The Philadelphia OIC Keyspot Computer Center is located at 1231 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122, (intersection of Broad and Thompson Streets). It’s open to the public Mondays-Thursdays from 3 PM to 8 PM and Fridays from 10 AM-2 PM. The Philadelphia OIC also offers GED training classes throughout the week. To find out more about the Philadelphia OIC Keyspot or any of the other 76 Keyspots throughout the city you can visit www.phillykeyspots.org