One Economy Corporation

21st Century Information and Support Ecosystem: Make It Easy Where You Are

The 21st Century Information and Support Ecosystem project proposes to implement a comprehensive program of computer training, wireless Internet access, broadband awareness marketing, and online content and applications to residents of 159 affordable and public housing developments and low-income communities in 50 cities and towns across 31 states and the District of Columbia. The project plans to implement four principal programs: training 2,500 youth to become “Digital Connectors” who will then provide digital literacy training to others in their communities; deploying localized broadband networks in public housing developments; developing online content and applications aimed at low-income, low-literacy audiences.

Total Award: 
BTOP In Action
IMG: Residents from Mercy Housing in San Jose, Calif. attend a computer basics c

One Economy launched 93 Digital Connector programs in 60 cities around the country after receiving BTOP funds. Aimed at high school and college students, the Digital Connector program encompasses more than 156 hours of training on a variety of topics including computer basics, financial literacy, leadership development, and software training. Students must also contribute 56 hours of community service, using newly acquired computer skills to provide digital literacy training to their neighbors. These community service projects include teaching computer basics, Microsoft Office® productivity software, and Internet fundamentals such as creating e-mails and performing searches.

BTOP funds have also allowed One Economy to connect more than 2,500 housing units across California, Portland, OR Chicago, IL and South Dakota with affordable Internet broadband access. In each housing development, One Economy provides Internet wiring, conducts free training seminars on topics including computer basics and Internet fundamentals, and creates an online community portal where residents can find information on local services. In Northern California alone, One Economy has connected over 1,600 housing units, providing residents with Internet access and digital literacy training. In San Francisco, San Jose, and other nearby communities, over 500 residents have attended training sessions, learning how to access the network, use e-mail, and search for jobs online.

An enormous focus of the project is to increase employment opportunities. The One Economy offices across the country have brought on new full-time employees for support. One Economy is also creating a total of 159 new positions for local residents. Hired as Community Technology Associates, individuals are responsible for managing the on-site wireless network and leading training sessions. As of the end of 2010, One Economy has filled 18 of these positions. To experience the impact up close, view the project’s YouTube page.

Last Updated: October 18, 2011

Reports and Documents
Award Documents