Digital literacy is the ability to find, create, and share information using a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
It is becoming essential to be digitally literate in the United States of America no matter who you are or where you came from.
As refugees and immigrants build new lives, they often need to complete tasks requiring technology and the internet. Tasks such as:
- Searching and applying for jobs
- Accessing government materials and services
- Looking and signing up for community-based services
- Connecting with their or their child’s school
- Learning and practicing English
- Workforce training/On-the-job responsibilities
- Managing finances
Being digitally literate also makes it easier to stay connected with family and friends whether it be through email, social media, or video chat.
These types of self-sufficiency positively affect everyone, not just the individual. According to National Immigration Forum, building digital literacy and other basic skills through adult education
…have economic and social public benefits. For example, states’ return on investment studies show that adult education programs can lead to increases in tax revenue, business productivity and consumer spending as well as decreased reliance on public assistance programs and government health care spending. Public social benefits include the increased ability to adapt to and use technology, and appreciation of diversity.*
Yet, many immigrants and refugees lack basic computer skills. This is where Literacy Rochester’s Digital Literacy program comes into play. Our trained volunteers work with individuals to improve their digital skills.
We teach adults computer skills and assist with completing computer-based tasks for free on a drop-in basis at various locations in and around Rochester, NY (click here for a full list of sites and schedules).
We would not be able to help create a connected, digitally literate community on our own – partnerships are key. Digital Literacy is grateful to partner with OACES as well as collaborate with other organizations such as Refugees Helping Refugees and Mary’s Place Refugee Outreach to help immigrants and refugees develop digital competency.
*Source: National Immigration Forum (2016, November 4). SKILLS AND TRAINING FOR NEW AMERICANS: CREATING A THRIVING ECONOMY THAT WORKS FOR ALL OF US (pg. 3). Retrieved from https://immigrationforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Skills-and-Training-for-New-Americans.pdf