Nonprofits Seek Equitable Technology Access

Nonprofits Seek Equitable Technology Access

Edison International partners with nonprofits to support efforts in Long Beach to build bridges across the digital divide.
Three people looking at a Human-I-T laptop
A man in a suit hands a Human-I-T box to a man in a mask
Three students watch an instructor assemble a piece of equipment
Students in a classroom watching a teacherStudents sit at a table assembling pieces of electronic equipment

Human-I-T’s online learning resources take participants from the basics of operating a computer to more specific skills, such as using the internet to access educational or healthcare resources. PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF HUMAN-I-T

Human-I-T began as a technology refurbishment company, providing affordable tech options for students and families while reducing electronic waste. PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF HUMAN-I-T

Hands-on learning is an important aspect of the Long Beach Math Collaborative’s learning experience. The program focuses on STEM education. PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF LONG BEACH MATH COLLABORATIVE

The Long Beach Math Collaborative program includes in-classroom learning at the CSU Long Beach campus. Funding will provide a virtual program, if needed. PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF LONG BEACH MATH COLLABORATIVE

Long Beach Math Collaborative program participants enjoy a two-week immersive summer camp at CSU Long Beach, with hands-on learning and access to social and emotional wellness programs. PHOTO CREDIT: COURTESY OF LONG BEACH MATH COLLABORATIVE

Friday, November 12, 2021 - 8:35am

CONTENT: Article

Doris Robinson was preparing to retire after a career as a school administrator. One call from her good friend who ran a nonprofit dedicated to helping young, Black men prepare and apply for college changed all that. 

“We wanted to keep these young men away from falling into bad habits,” said Robinson. “We wanted to create a paradigm shift and show them what was possible by continuing their education.”

Hoping to help strengthen college matriculation rates in her community, Robinson decided to continue her lifelong work in education and accepted a role as director of the Long Beach Math Collaborative. Focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education, participants are enrolled in a two-week summer program at California State University, Long Beach, which includes access to community resources, meals and counseling. The $50,000 grant provided by Edison International will help next summer’s class of students.

“I thank Edison every day because they started out with us and have continued to help us provide for our students every year,” said Robinson. The Math Collaborative also has developed an alumni program to support graduating participants through college, the military and their professional lives.

As the largest city in Southern California Edison’s service area, Long Beach is home to a variety of community groups dedicated to greater digital equity.

“In our technologically dependent society, we as community leaders must commit to prioritizing digital access and inclusion,” said Larry Chung, vice president of Local Public Affairs for SCE. “Our nonprofit partners funded through this initiative have demonstrated their commitment through equal access to technology associated with educational programming, social wellness and career development.” 

Another Long Beach grant recipient, Human-I-T, will use $30,000 in Edison funding in a similarly holistic fashion.

“We started in a small warehouse, refurbishing computers and other technology and expanded from there,” said program manager Fiona Foster.

Now, Human-I-T teaches how to identify affordable internet options and determine what solutions will work best for students. Its digital literacy program guides participants from the basics of how to operate a computer to using a computer for school, telehealth or access to social services. 

State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (D-70), whose district includes Long Beach, said, “As a teacher and chair of the Assembly Education Committee, I know firsthand the struggles families experienced with distance learning. Thanks to Southern California Edison for expanding digital and technology access, especially to those who need it most. A child connected to the internet is a child connected to better educational opportunities.”

Edison is collaborating with three additional nonprofits in Long Beach working toward greater digital equity: 

  • Centro CHA is a Latino community hub for youth and working families, offering immigrant education and integration services. Funding will be used to improve digital inclusion among immigrants. 
  • The Long Beach City College Foundation supports students preparing for careers or further study in STEM fields. Funding will help cover the cost of tuition for one full year. 
  • The Long Beach Mayor’s Fund will use funding to help implement the city’s Digital Inclusion Roadmap, which seeks expanded technology access for local students of underrepresented populations. 

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said, “As more and more things that we do everyday move online — especially throughout this pandemic — digital inclusion has become an even more crucial issue to tackle head-on. We are grateful for Southern California Edison’s work to partner with our community organizations to meet this important need.” 

For more information on the initiatives empowered by grant funding through Edison International, visit SCE.com/community.