Comcast has announced that it will provide a grant to the American Association for People with Disabilities (AAPD) to help fund the creation and delivery of digital literacy training, specifically for low-income Americans in the disabled community.
The grant will fund training materials and classes geared toward facilitating that skills development. The classes will be delivered online and at 10 AAPD affiliates across the US.
The company's Internet Essentials program, from which these classes stem, aims to bridge the digital divide by providing a comprehensive internet adoption program for low-income households. According to Comcast, the program, which has been in place since 2011, has already provided more than 8 million low-income Americans with internet access. This grant is intended to take the program up a notch.
Data shows that even though the disabled community provides significant economic benefit to local areas, workers of this community are often left out of employers' diversity and inclusion initiatives. More than 20 million such workers are looking for work, according to the National Organization on Disability.
Digital skills training may be helpful to connect this cohort with employers who are looking to increase representation of people with disabilities within their organizations. Workers with digital proficiencies can earn more than less-skilled candidates, and an increasing number of jobs require basic digital literacy to meet employers' current skill and growth demands.
When companies look at their role as stewards in their community, outreach to people with disabilities may be part of their inclusion strategy. However, it may be best to defer to people with disabilities when implementing ways to make them feel included at work.