OAKLAND, California – As an immediate response to school closures across the Bay Area, nonprofit Tech Exchange mobilized to extend hours and prepare for distribution and tech support to families without digital access. At their community Tech Hub on International Boulevard in Oakland, CA, Tech Exchange staff and volunteers welcomed a constant flow of families and provided them with computers, mobile devices, and home Internet services. Approximately 100 devices were handed out from the time schools closed on Friday, March 13 through Monday, March 16th, 2020 when the Shelter in Place order was announced.
Currently, Tech Exchange has configured their phone system to serve as a call center. They are fielding inquiries and supporting community members by providing options for affordable Internet and devices by phone. Additionally, they continue to work with several local school districts, supporting students with internet and device access.
Executive Director Seth Hubbert shared the following statement today:
“We've been in coordination with several school districts on supporting their students with internet and device access. We have a team organizing devices at the Tech Hub to prepare them for distribution. We will then transfer them to school district personnel to distribute to families. In Oakland, we have aligned efforts with the "Grab and Go" program that is distributing food at 12 school locations. To support students without home technology access, we will be distributing 1 Million Project devices that come with free data and hotspot functionality. We are preparing approximately 200 devices that will go out today.”
ABOUT TECH EXCHANGE
Tech Exchange is driven to provide digital equity throughout the Bay Area by equipping underserved community members with affordable Internet connection, digital literacy skills, and refurbished computers coupled with free tech support. These digital inclusion services empower all individuals with the fundamental ability to access online education, employment, health care, financial services, and public resources as means with which to improve and enhance their lives. Over the last 25 years, Tech Exchange has distributed over 50,000 refurbished computers to underserved Bay Area community members, provided over 10,000 instructional hours of training, and offered 200 youth technical internships, all while diverting over 1,000 tons of e-waste from landfills. Currently, Tech Exchange serves over 4,000 households a year with digital inclusion services, with programming active in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and Santa Clara counties. www.techexchange.org
As the world comes together in isolation, we know closing the digital divide is as important as ever.
Please consider donating to Tech Exchange today so that we can continue
to lead the critical work in ensuring all communities are connected.