AT&T, CMHA launch tech scholarships for residents

AT&T, CMHA launch tech scholarships for residents

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and AT&T have partnered to announce AT&T will be offering 100 Udacity Nanodegree tech scholarships to select CMHA residents. The AT&T Aspire to Tech Scholarship program will provide residents tech-focused coursework for free to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Connect Home communities across the nation, including, CMHA. The Nanodegree program offers the chance to build cutting-edge skills that are in demand in today’s economy. The application deadline is May 23rd, with classes will begin on June 12th and run through February 2018. Please visit the link below to apply for this opportunity or for more information.

CMHA and AT&T announced the tech scholarships during an event at Outhwaite Community Center.
CMHA and AT&T announced the tech scholarships during an event at Outhwaite Community Center.

Nanodegree programs offered through this scholarship are self-paced, online coursework that provide students highly in-demand skills needed to help obtain tech-related jobs. The courses help students and job-seekers develop skills in areas such as web development, mobile development and data analytics. As part of the program, Udacity leverages partnerships with Google, AT&T, Facebook and other industry leaders to create real-world projects that employees of these companies are constantly challenged with solving, giving the tech scholarship students a hands-on experience.

AT&T Aspire to Tech students can take Nanodegree courses focusing on:

  • Intro to programming: Start a career in tech
  • Front-end web developer: Build beautiful websites
  • Android basics: Develop mobile apps

Scholarships are available to:

  • Students who participate in at least one activity of an AT&T Aspire supported organization including: All Star Code, Black Girls Code, Girls Who Code, Genesys Works, Hack the Hood, One Goal and Year Up
  • Residents of ConnectHome pilot communities such as CMHA.

Participants should expect to dedicate a minimum of ten hours a week over the eight months Nanodegree course period. Tech scholarship winners will be notified by email on June 6, 2017. Nanodegree classes begin on June 12, 2017 and run through February 2018 for this spring tech scholarship class. Through this partnership with AT&T, CMHA continues to bridge the digital divide through the ConnectHome initiative, offering low-cost internet to CMHA residents in an era where such access is necessary for upward mobility.

To apply for this opportunity or for more information click here. Note: Interested applicants have to create a Udacity account or sign-in with a service like Facebook in order to reach the Aspire to Tech application page.

CMHA, DigitalC connect residents to high-speed internet

CMHA, DigitalC connect residents to high-speed internet

Residents at six Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) facilities in Central will soon have internet connectivity available in their homes for the first time thanks to a partnership with DigitalC called “Connect the Unconnected.” The goal of the program is to address, and lessen, the digital divide. The digital divide is the gap between those who have access to digital technologies, and those who don’t.

A recent report from National Digital Inclusion Alliance ranked Cleveland as the third worst city in the country for households with broadband access. According to DigitalC, in Cleveland, more than a one-third of the city’s residents do not have access to the internet in any form, and as many as half the city’s residents have no fixed wired home internet access.

“The latest ACS survey shows that 50 percent of Cleveland residents don’t have broadband access at home,” said Liz Forester, director of programs and partnerships, DigitalC, in an interview with Ideastream. “The gap keeps growing and our fear is that it will get so wide that people won’t be able to catch up.”

The first phase of the “Connect the Unconnected” program will install broadband access in six CMHA housing facilities: Cedar Extension, Bohn Tower, Wilson Tower, King Kennedy North, King Kennedy South and Outhwaite. The Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Men’s Shelter and Stepstone Academy, both located in Central, will also receive broadband internet access through the program.

“Digital inclusion is very significant. The internet has become a necessity for all and programs like this help people move toward self-sufficiency and allow them to have access to some of the more basic things in life,” said Jeffery Patterson, CEO, Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority. “It’s beginning to look like the internet is essentially as important as a refrigerator or a stove.”

Cedar High Rise
Cedar High Rise

The first step in the program was to bring high speed wireless connection to the buildings and to each apartment.

DigitalC is starting at CMHA’s Cedar High Rise and is currently in the very early stages of construction with equipment going up in February. Once the broadband is in place, the training begins with the ReStart Program, teaching residents basic to intermediate skills in software and hardware. Residents will have an opportunity to attend a basic digital literacy training class and then will receive a refurbished computer upon completion of training.

“The access by itself is not enough, you need a computer and then you need to know how to use that computer, how to get online safely, how to access your medical records, do your online banking. So that is the training we are going to provide,” Forester said.

Before embarking on the project, CMHA and DigitalC held community forums and focus groups on how internet access can address the highest priorities of residents including being able to apply for a job online, checking their medical records, keeping in touch with family, and feeling secure in their apartments.

“Residents are thrilled about being able to have this in their homes. A lot of folks may have it on their smart phones, but to be able to utilize it in your home, to be able to surf the web and do so many different things is just exciting,” Patterson said.

Read more about “Connect the Unconnected” here.