Diversity & Inclusion
COVID-19 / Digital access / Funding / Municipal government

Helplines for navigating technology and the internet are now open in Philly

Residents of North, West and South Philly can reach a digital navigator by phone or email for assistance as of last week, thanks to Digital Literacy Alliance grants.

On the web. (Photo by Vojtech Okenka from Pexels)

Late last month, Philly’s Digital Literacy Alliance (DLA) announced that it would be granting $90,000 to three organizations to create “digital navigator” positions.

The aim of the role is to help residents better access and use technology and the internet, from sharing info on low-cost internet options to advising on device setup, said the DLA, a 19-organization funding collective born out of the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia. And as of last week, those digital navigators will be available to help by phone and email.

The three organizations — Community Learning Center (CLC), which helps economically disadvantaged adults in Philadelphia develop their academic and employment skills; the ExCITe Center at Drexel University, which fosters technical expertise with creativity; and SEAMAAC, which supports immigrants, refugees, and other marginalized communities — were each chosen to receive $30,000.

  • CLC’s Digital Navigator program is designed to assist the North Philadelphia community. Residents can reach a CLC Digital Navigator by calling 215-426-7049 or by emailing info@communitylearningcenter.com. The helpline will be live answered Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • ExCITe Center’s Digital Navigator program aims to assist West Philadelphia community members, who can call or text 1-267-217-3508. The helpline will be live answered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They can also reach out by email at navigator@excitecenter.org
  • The SEAMAAC Digital Navigator program looks to assist the South Philadelphia community. Individuals can call the helpline at 215-867-9732, which will be live answered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. Philadelphians can also email digital@seamaac.org to connect with a digital navigator, and live chat translation is available in Spanish and interpreters are available for most languages on helpline calls.

“Each of these groups understood the immediate technology challenges presented by COVID-19 and the importance of working toward digital equity in Philadelphia,” said Andrew Buss, deputy chief information officer for innovation at the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Innovation and Technology. “The DLA is eager to test the digital navigation model in Philadelphia and adapt it to support our residents as they work and learn online.”

Companies: ExCITe Center / Office of Innovation and Technology
People: Andrew Buss

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