Using Partnerships to Narrow ‘Digital Divide’

Since the pandemic forced us to close our doors in mid-March, we have witnessed a painful truth: The “digital divide” is real, and many of our Members are on the wrong side of it.

Job seekers who do not have easy access to computers and reliable internet service are at a significant disadvantage when so much of the hiring process happens online.

We borrowed laptops from the Library to use in a hybrid virtual/in-person job fair.

So we have leveraged key partnerships to help narrow the divide:

  • We have borrowed laptop computers from the Cincinnati Public Library for some events, including our redesigned and virtual JumpStart job-readiness workshop.
  • The Library also allowed us to use space Downtown for a virtual onboarding session for new Members.
  • Through our relationships with City of Cincinnati officials, we have been able to use a large, well-ventilated office space downtown for JumpStart participants who do not have a reliable computer or internet service at home.
  • Our coaches and staff have led virtual training for clients of Dress for Success Cincinnati and The Care Center in Loveland.
  • Even our internal teams have partnered in new ways, so our more tech-savvy staff members have been available to assist with JumpStart and other online events.

The Library partnership, in particular, has been invaluable in recent years as both organizations have found creative ways to tap into each other’s services and expertise.

“We are grateful for the Cincinnati Public Library and the breadth of services they have offered during this pandemic,” said Leslie Kish, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Cincinnati Works. “While resources have shifted online, we know that not all have access, but the library has continued to serve as a valuable resource to all members of our community. They have been open to finding creative ways to provide services while maintaining social distancing and health guidelines.”

This article appeared in the September 2020 issue of our newsletter. Click here to view the full newsletter.

Staffing Specialist Billie Vega leads a workshop for The Care Center