(Photo courtesy of the Mayor's Commission on Literacy)
Recently, Philadelphia got a big thumbs up for its KEYSPOT program.
The city won the first-ever Leader in Digital Inclusion Award from the National League of Cities and Next Century Cities in partnership with Google Fiber (other winners include Austin, Texas, and Washington, D.C., for its newly renovated Mobile Tech Lab.)
KEYSPOT is a network of computer literacy training centers aimed at improving public access to the internet and technology.
While the award doesn’t have a monetary component, “its well-deserved recognition” for the city, according to Jennifer Kobrin, associate director of the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy and KEYSPOT’s program manager
“KEYSPOT was chosen as one of the six awardees from a national pool of applicants, and we feel honored as this is the very first award of its kind,” Kobrin in an email. “This award is special because it acknowledges that many stakeholders in the City of Philadelphia are working collaboratively toward this shared goal.”
Korbin also updated Technical.ly Philly on KEYSPOT, so here’s a by-the-numbers look at what the program has been doing for the past year as well as some new plans going forward:
- 3 new locations: KEYSPOT now operates at Connections for Humanity at 325 W. Rockland St., the Center for Literacy at 399 Market St., and the Lutheran Settlement House on 1340 Frankford Ave.
- 50 total KEYSPOT locations across the city: 19 of these spots are in city recreation centers, 3 are in Free Library of Philadelphia-sponsored sites and 28 other KEYSPOT locations are in neighborhood-based organizations. KEYSPOT continues to be managed by the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy, the city’s Office of Innovation and Technology, the Department of Parks and Recreation and Drexel University.
- 133,258 site visits: The period between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 saw 45,296 open-access hours across all of KEYSPOT’s sites, according to data the program collects quarterly.
- $130,000 for 13 nonprofits: In addition to supporting KEYSPOT in rec centers and libraries, city funding was invested in 13 nonprofit organizations that operate a KEYSPOT. The funding, according to Kobrin, is used mostly to defray staffing costs. Some $10,000 was given to first-time grant winners; renewing award recipients were given $7,500; and three locations were given an extra $500 for innovative projects.
- Quarterly meetings and multiple collaborations: At network-wide meetings, which occur four times a year, KEYSPOT staff receive professional development training, Kobrin explained. The program has also created multiple partnerships in the past year — including ones dedicated to helping parents find after-school programs and helping individuals get set up to use the bike share program.
On the horizon, KEYSPOT has plans for open houses of the new locations, a new online platform and a new pilot program — which received funding from the city’s Innovation Fund — called Computer Skills and Bicycle Thrills: Health and Fitness through Technology.
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