Learning tech skills can be difficult for any newcomer, but its challenges are exacerbated for those who lack stability. Imagine, for example, trying to access accounts without a long-term phone number or address to verify your login. How would you keep up with important online documents and files over time without a device? Because so much of our lives have shifted online, it is easy to take for granted how important digital skills are to participating in everyday life.
This was a recurring theme in our recent classes at the Minna Lee Hotel. Opened in 2018, the Minna Lee offers a safe and welcoming home to single adults through the Coordinated Entry System. CTN’s classes at this location are a part of our partnership with Episcopal Community Services (ECS), funded by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
This partnership program officially began in early 2020, but most classes at Minna Lee have been on hold during the pandemic. Over a year later, CTN program manager Josie Boyle began teaching the first in-person class this past November. As a trial run of sorts, we kept this initial group small. In mid-December, all four attendees successfully graduated from the program!
This course first covered the basics of a device before diving into more complex topics — like educational resources, photo editing and sharing, media literacy, internet safety, and Google applications. A couple of the learners were already familiar with tech skills, but they remained engaged and offered helpful insight based on their experiences. Others had much less experience with technology and benefited from slowly learning the basics.
“The overall sentiment was just on how you really need to have these basic skills to be a part of society now,” reflects Josie. “One participant was in a juvenile facility for several years. When he was released, he already felt behind the times and was slow to learn computers since he worked in construction, where it wasn’t needed. Another topic that came up was how much harder it is to use common tech if you don’t have stability.”
We’re grateful for ECS in helping us make these classes possible — and hopeful that we can continue to work with Minna Lee residents to ensure they feel confident navigating the digital world.