March 21 marks the launch of “EveryoneOn,” a nationwide public education campaign to help all Americans access technology through free digital literacy training, discounted high-speed Internet, and low-cost computers.
In the 21st century workforce, it has never been more important to possess digital skills. Yet, more than 100 million Americans do not have a broadband connection at home, and 62 million do not use the Internet at all. Closing the digital divide is a critical issue for the country, and EveryoneOn is rising to meet the challenge.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said, “The costs of digital exclusion – of not having access to Internet at home–are rising every day. 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.”
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn also voiced her support for EveryoneOn, stating: “While our nation’s digital divide is indeed shrinking, we must come to terms with the fact that a staggering 62 million Americans remain offline, severely limiting their access to critical information and vital services. The benefits of connectivity are endless – you literally have the world at your fingertips. That is why I am excited about the potential of EveryoneOn, a new public education campaign powered by Connect2Compete, which meets non-digital natives where they are and encourages them to venture online where their natural skills may be enhanced and their day-to-day needs may be realized more efficiently.”
Rep. Edward Markey, joined by Rep. Anna Eshoo and Rep. Doris Matsui, also sponsored a House resolution to declare March 21 the country’s first National Digital Literacy Day.
Connect2Compete, a national nonprofit working to help close the broadband adoption gap, approached the Ad Council in 2012 seeking help in creating a public service campaign. Because fear and relevancy are two of the main reasons that people are hesitant to use the Internet, the campaign focuses on illustrating how non-adopters can do something better by getting online – whether that means doing their homework, paying their bills, or finding a job.
The “EveryoneOn” campaign will run for three years and includes television, radio, and digital (mobile and Web) advertisements, as well as a social media campaign designed to recruit volunteers and drive people to learn more at EveryoneOn.org or through the 1-855-EVRY1ON help line.
America’s public libraries and other Connect2Compete partner sites are offering free digital literacy training at thousands of locations across the country. Using EveryoneOn.org, digital “newbies” can locate their closest digital literacy training center by entering their ZIP code, or via the toll-free help line and via SMS texting. Digital “savvies” can use the same resources to discover volunteer opportunities in their community. These training programs allow people to learn basic skills such as how to use a computer, set up email, navigate the Internet, prepare and upload an online resume, and access their health data.
For more information on how you can get involved with the EveryoneOn movement, please visit www.everyoneon.org and www.connect2compete.org, and follow the campaign on Twitter @everyone_on and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/EveryoneOn.