Students Get Free Laptops In Exchange For Community Service

Federally Funded Program: Teach People To Use Internet, Get A Free Laptop

A hundred Bakersfield College students received free laptops today as part of a campaign to raise digital literacy for the central valley.

A study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that Latinos and the central valley have the least knowledge in broadband Internet.

Which is why a federal program called California Connects is trying to increase digital literacy by trading new laptops for teaching others how to use the internet.

One hundred Bakersfield College students received new laptops this morning. In exchange, they'd have to spend a minimum 12 hours teaching at least seven people how to use a laptop and broadband internet. Its all part of a $10.9 million grant for California connects, a federally funded program that is handing out nearly 6,000 laptops to high achieving but low income community college students throughout California in efforts to increase digital literacy.

"We are a very underserved area of California and we're going to hopefully increase education and technology use," said teacher Consuelo Gonzalez.

An experience and tool, many could not otherwise afford. "I wouldn't be able to afford a laptop or the software that comes with it and having a big family and the recent budget cuts it would've been impossible without California Connects," said laptop recipient Arrmund Neal.

The goal of these laptops is to not only give students the tools to succeed in college and their careers but also provide internet education to people without access or funds. Ultimately the hope is it will contribute to economic growth and job creation.

"I think its a win win situation," said laptop recipient Adolfo Rojo.

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