Most Philadelphia Housing Authority residents who take KEYSPOT's broadband technologies course have to visit the John F. Street Community Center at 11th and Poplar streets to receive their netbooks after completing the course. This can be very inconvenient for those who live far from that part of the city or who have disabilities. Luckily, KEYSPOT is able to bring training and netbook distribution right to where these residents live. One such class for senior citizen residents took place Aug. 15-16 at PHA's Wilson Park apartment building in South Philadelphia.
Leon White-Bey was one of 17 people who took advantage of the class. White-Bey had many years of computer experience but wanted to keep up with the latest technology. He said one of his strongest motivations to take the class and receive the netbook was to become comfortable using a touchpad instead of a mouse. He hopes that the skills he gained from the class, along with the continuing education he gets as a member of the Moorish Science Temple of America, will improve his chances of getting a job.
“Right now I’m looking for maybe some small computer work where I can learn how to do word processing, and if I can learn how to do that, some data entry,” White-Bey said.
Not everyone in the class sought a new job with their skills. Annette Green, a stay-at-home housewife, signed up for the class mainly because she just wanted to learn.
“The computer is where the world’s headed, and it’s interesting; it caught my attention,” Green said. “I like to venture myself.” She was also motivated to get online so that she would no longer have trouble obtaining everyday services that require an email address. Signing up for cell phone service was recently problematic for her because she didn’t have an email address before taking the computer class.
PHA residents who have not yet received a netbook can call 215-684-1016 to find out when and where upcoming trainings are. Most trainings take place at Community College of Philadelphia sites, but trainings like this one can be scheduled at PHA sites if sufficient demand exists.
Photo credit: Aaron Strauss