In 2020, Comcast launched Lift Zones, an extension of the company’s Project UP $1B digital equity initiative, which was designed to help community centers navigate online learning with Internet access and digital resources. Since its inception, Lift Zones have become safe spaces where communities can learn digital skills and pursue academic, professional, and personal advancement. As of October 2022, Comcast has teamed up with nonprofit partners and city leaders to launch more than 1,250 WiFi-connected Lift Zones nationwide.
In Tallahassee, the Apalachee Ridge Estates Technology & Learning Center is home to one of Comcast’s Lift Zones and is a valued partner helping to create digital equity. Since 2018, The Apalachee Ridge Estates Technology & Learning Center has been building an intergenerational learning environment where children and adults can take pride in expanding their knowledge and empowering themselves through science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
“Apalachee Ridge Estates Technology & Learning Center is a manifestation of the consensus-driven input that the community gave during the neighborhood improvement process,” says Christic Henry, President of Greater Apalachee Ridge Estates Neighborhood Association. “A place where people can see their input being realized as it delivers resources to the community. The Center is a digital advocacy hub for digital inclusion within the region.”
As neighborhoods continue to grow, the necessity of being digitally connected is increasing and that is where Lift Zones fulfill an essential need to connect underserved families. In fact, per the National Skills Coalition study, one of three workers lack foundational digital skills. From answering emails to using Excel, workers without foundational digital skills may be left in the gap of the digital divide.
“We have a history of skill training at the tech hub, not just with the internet. The goal is to make sure we have the bandwidth to partner with career sources and other work source providers,” says Henry. “Soon members of the community will be able to express their stories by producing digital content, whether that be a podcast, commercial or social media; those are the great things happening as a result of having the partnership with Comcast.”
“The Apalachee Ridge Estates Technology & Learning Center is one of 82 Lift Zones Comcast has established in the state of Florida,” said Stefanie Bowden, Comcast Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs. “Digital inclusion is more important than ever with the growing adoption of online learning, telehealth options and more. Lift Zones provides Tallahassee residents free internet access with the opportunity for digital skills training from local Digital Navigators to stay connected to the increasingly online world.” Additionally, earlier this year, Comcast partnered with Tallahassee Community leaders with a $75,000 grant to fund Digital Navigators in Leon County to help bridge the digital divide.
Learn about Apalachee Ridge Estates Technology & Learning Center at : www.greaterarena.org. For more information about Comcast’s commitment to closing the digital divide, including finding your nearest Lift Zone, please visit: https://corporate.comcast.com/impact/digital-equity/lift-zones