100 free laptops offered to digital readiness students at four UH community colleges
Students who complete a free digital readiness course being offered by four University of Hawaiʻi Community College campuses statewide may receive a refurbished laptop, while supplies last. Hawai‘i CC, Kapi‘olani CC, Kaua‘i CC and Windward CC are offering the introductory hands-on classes for adults with little or no computer experience.
Classes will begin in March. To register for digital readiness classes at participating UH Community Colleges and for class times, call 808-235-7334. Students who complete this course will also receive a year-long subscription to NorthStar’s online courses, in order to increase their digital literacy or acquire other workforce skills.
UH Community Colleges began offering the digital readiness program in May 2021 in partnership with the Workforce Development Council and the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System. More than 520 Hawai‘i residents took the course in 2021, including Fely Dias.
“I am not afraid of using the computer anymore,” Dias said, after completing the course at Windward CC. “The digital readiness class has helped me to navigate the computer better on my own. I can see the computer is a very convenient tool for me to handle the day-to-day things now. …I learned to create an email and to browse the internet, which are wonderful.”
The State of Hawai‘i Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and UH signed a memorandum of agreement for the laptops in January.
Under the agreement, DBEDT is providing 100 refurbished laptop computers for distribution to students who complete the UH Community Colleges’ digital readiness course. In return, UH will:
- Assist program participants in registering for the NorthStar Digital Literacy Assessment.
- Inform program participants of the availability of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, under which qualified households can receive up to $50 a month toward broadband service and up to $75 a month for qualified households on Hawaiian Home Lands.
- Inform program participants about the Hawaiʻi Remote Work Pilot Project.
- Provide program participants with technical hardware and software support on the refurbished laptop computers through referrals to Hawaiian Hope.
The refurbished laptops are being divided equally among the four campuses and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.