Alongside community partners and elected officials, Comcast, in partnership with the Urban League of Middle Tennessee, unveiled a new technology lab at the Nashville Business Incubation Center. The computer lab will be available to NBIC members, community youth and adults. Digital literacy classes will be held in the lab to support the NBIC’s entrepreneurial incubator programs.
“We are really excited to be here today to cut the ribbon on this wonderful lab,” said Clifton Harris, president/CEO, Urban League of Middle Tennessee. “Others now can have use of computer technology to bridge the digital divide as we continue to move forward into the 21st century.”
This is the fourth computer lab that Comcast and ULMTN have opened through a grant partnership with the Comcast Foundation and the Comcast Internet Essentials program. In addition to the new lab at the incubation center, there are also computer labs at Westwood Baptist Church, Cathedral of Praise, and the Hispanic Family Foundation—with a fifth to be opening soon in Gallatin.
“This is a commitment that Comcast has made to help bridge the digital divide and we recognize that not only do people need the internet to be connected but they also need devices and a place to come to get connected,” said Comcast Manager of External Affairs Kim Sasser Hayden.
According to Hayden, the computer labs have been used for many tasks from teaching classes to hosting after school programs.
Hayden said Comcast was happy to help support the Incubation Center because “we know that when you are growing and starting a business you have to be connected—you have to have the right tools and equipment to do that.”
Comcast and the Urban League are currently in a multiyear partnership, and Comcast has already provided over $75,000 in grants to make the computer labs possible.
According to the Incubation Center’s Executive Director, Angela Crane-Jones, the lab will be put to good use.
“A lot of times individuals come in and they don’t understand the importance of having technology in their companies and this will allow us to train them,” said Crane-Jones.
Internet Essentials, now in its eighth year, is Comcast’s signature community investment program and the nation’s largest and most successful broadband adoption initiative for low-income families. Internet Essentials’ integrated approach is part of the program’s core design to address each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption—digital literacy, access to computer equipment, and low-cost Internet service. The program is also structured as a partnership between Comcast and thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners, to address this complex set of broadband adoption issues.