Verizon and Partners to Announce Significant Grant Funding to Improve Digital Literacy Among New Orleans’ Latino Community
NEW ORLEANS — Verizon and UnidosUS recently presented grant funding to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana (HCCL) and provided a behind-the-scenes look at their new Latinos @ Work program. The event, which took place on Wednesday at the HCCL Foundation in Kenner, included a special curriculum demonstration from current program participants.
According to a press release, the grant will allow HCCL to develop a state-of-the-art digital learning center equipped with mobile technologies, specialized curriculum, and professional services to help program participants become more digitally competent in the workforce.
In partnership with Verizon, UnidosUS and its affiliates have developed digital learning centers in New Orleans and three additional cities through the Latinos @ Work program. This partnership represents Verizon’s broader efforts to increase community engagement in New Orleans and surrounding areas. The HCCL has been selected to carry out and oversee the Latinos @ Work programming in the New Orleans market.
“Verizon is proud to partner with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana Foundation to provide programming that will increase access to 21st-century skills in the Latino community,” said April W. Brumfield, director of government affairs at Verizon. “In today’s digital world, nearly every career requires some level of digital literacy. We are excited to support programs that aim to bridge the digital divide.”
The program’s digital literacy and job readiness contextualized toolkit will help community-based organizations, like the HCCL, provide soft and hard skills to participants through eight-week-long sessions. Enrolled participants will also be provided with meals, childcare, laptops, and transportation during the duration of their course. The digital learning centers will be equipped with mobile technologies, curriculum, and professional services to help program participants become digitally competent.
The curricula will help individuals prepare for jobs that require digital skills and to be employed in those jobs. It will consist of modules that aim to elevate the skill sets of participants, including financial capability, digital literacy, job readiness, communication, and job search.
“The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana is thrilled about this partnership with Verizon and UnidosUS because it will allow us to bridge the gap between the Hispanic community and digital literacy,” said Mayra Pineda, president and CEO of the HCCL. “This will convert to better job opportunities and economic development for program participants and the community-at-large.”
According to a 2018 study by Pew Research Center, Hispanics account for 16 percent of the U.S. workforce, but they only represent 7 percent of all STEM workers. Latinos @ Work seeks to address this gap as graduates of the program will be connected to further education, training, and employment opportunities in the financial service sector, information technology, retail and customer service, and hospitality fields.