Eastgate Contributes $50K for Digital Learning Centers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Eastgate Regional Council of Governments is contributing $50,000 toward Oak Hill Collaborative’s effort to establish digital learning centers in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

The objective of the OHC Neighborhood Digital Learning Centers is to deploy digital navigators into communities. The navigators will work to improve the digital literacy of the area by encouraging more families and individuals to get connected through low-cost or free access to the internet, along with educational resources that teach the value of broadband and how to use it safely and efficiently.

“It became apparent that many parts of our community found themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide, and we needed to take action,” said Jim Kinnick, Eastgate executive director.

“Building upon the foundation and recommendation of the Regional Broadband Feasibility Study, Eastgate believes the implementation of the OHC Neighborhood Digital Learning Centers will be successful because of the experience of the Oak Hill Collaborative, plus the reliance on collaboration and cooperation where talents, opportunities and resources are shared by partners with a common goal – all at the neighborhood level,” Kinnick said.

Pat Kerrigan, Oak Hill Collaborative executive director, said the center’s ideal client is someone “who has an interest in learning and needs help and encouragement and wants to remain in their neighborhood.”

The services offered in the digital learning center will be customized for the specific needs of the residents of that neighborhood. 

Many of those services will be delivered using the digital navigator format. 

“The NDIA digital navigator one-to-one learning model has shown to be very effective at reaching learners where they are and assisting them in getting to where they want to go,” said Steve Kristan, broadband coordinator for Eastgate. “Not everyone wants to sit in a classroom these days.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.