WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital literacy is critical to America's economic future, and possessing these skills is now essential for accessing the jobs and education opportunities that will enable current and future generations to compete in the 21st century workforce. Yet roughly 100 million Americans do not have a broadband connection at home, and 62 million do not use the Internet at all. Today, nonprofit Connect2Compete, launches a national campaign, "EveryoneOn," a public awareness campaign designed to help all Americans access free digital literacy training in their communities. Also starting today, Connect2Compete will offer consumers access to programs providing discounted high-speed Internet and low-cost computers.
"The costs of digital exclusion—of not having access to Internet at home—are rising every day," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Offline Americans are missing out on opportunities in education, health care, and employment. I applaud the 'EveryoneOn' campaign to onboard the millions of Americans on the wrong side of the digital divide and deliver the digital literacy skills required to succeed in today's economy."
Connect2Compete has worked with more than 70 partners including the Knight Foundation, the Carlos Slim Foundation, Comcast, Cox Communications, Intel, Monster, Solix and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to aggregate digital skills training opportunities and programs that enable access to low-cost Internet services. Starting today, Americans can visit www.Connect2Compete.org to access opportunities including:
Low/No-Cost Internet Access – Through partnerships with local Internet providers such as Freedom Pop, Comcast and Cox Communications, Connect2Compete will connect millions of low-income citizens to programs that offer free and low-cost Internet services. In areas where FreedomPop offers coverage, the company will extend an offer for a $49 "plug and play" router (equivalent to a 50% discount) and free access to 1GB of wireless Internet service, with the option of an additional 12GB of service for $9.99/month, including free "auto-off" defaults to prevent overages. In addition, through partnerships with local cable companies such as Comcast and Cox Communications, eligible families will have access to high-speed Internet service for $9.95/month. Cox Communications will offer its program starting in April to free school lunch participants; its program will also include a free modem and free professional installation. Comcast's Internet Essentials program is currently available to families who have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private, and homeschool students.
Affordable Computers – Through a host of hardware and software partners, including GoodPC, Comcast Internet Essentials and Microsoft, Connect2Compete will provide the opportunity to purchase new and refurbished computers for less than $200.
Digital Skills Training – Through a nationwide network of partners, Connect2Compete will help the public find digital literacy programs in more than 21,000 libraries and training centers. The programs will provide people the opportunity to learn basic skills such as how to use a computer, navigate the web, take actions like preparing and uploading an online resume, or processing a basic Internet transaction.
"The costs of the digital divide are clear and documented," said Zach Leverenz, CEO of Connect2Compete. "Our goal is to help overcome the barriers to adoption, including lack of perceived relevancy, high costs and the need for basic digital literacy skills, in order to ensure that all Americans have the tools they need to compete in the digital economy, regardless of age, race, geography, income or education level."
Today, to help drive awareness of the free digital skills trainings, Connect2Compete and the Ad Council are also launching the nationwide public service advertising (PSA) campaign, "EveryoneOn," created pro bono by Y&R. The Ad Council is a nonprofit organization known for developing and delivering critical messages to the American public, such as Smokey the Bear's "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" and "Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk." The "EveryoneOn" campaign will include television, radio, and digital (mobile and Web) advertisements, as well as a social media campaign designed to communicate the value of digital literacy and drive people to learn more at EveryoneOn.org or through the 1-855-EVRY1ON help line. Consumers can follow the campaign on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EveryoneOn or through Twitter at https://twitter.com/everyone_on. To view the PSA, visit EveryoneOn.adcouncil.org.
"EveryoneOn will raise national awareness about the importance of digital literacy and help reach the more than 60 million Americans who aren't meaningfully engaged online," said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. "The start of this movement today, on 3-2-1, is only the beginning and we're using social media and digital strategies to collect and share personal stories that will show the life-changing impact of the Internet on our lives."
The Ad Council is distributing the PSAs to media outlets nationwide and they will run in time and space entirely donated by the media.
For more information on the campaign and a list of free digital skills training opportunities in your area, call 1-855-EVRY1ON or text "Connect" to 30364. Consumers can also visit www.EveryoneOn.org, which will include a zip code locator tool to find free digital literacy training classes and links to best-in-class online training resources. Information will be available in English and Spanish. For details and information regarding low-cost Internet and computer programs in your local area, please visit www.Connect2Compete.org.
Connect2Compete (C2C) is a national nonprofit that aims to eliminate the digital divide by making high-speed, low-cost Internet, computers, and free digital literacy accessible to all unconnected Americans. Technology and digital skills are essential to ensure future generations can compete in the global economy and to prepare them for the 21st century workforce. C2C aims to leverage the democratizing power of the Internet to provide opportunity to all Americans – regardless of age, race, geography, income, or education level. For more information, please visit www.Connect2Compete.org.
The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a 70-year history of marshaling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has affected, and continues to affect tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action, and saving lives. For more information, please visit www.adcouncil.org. You can also visit www.facebook.com/adcouncil or follow the Ad Council on Twitter @AdCouncil.
Contact: Jennifer Bemisderfer