Youngstown workshop goals to assist bridge digital divide, join folks to web


The Oak Hill Collaborative aims to revitalize the neighborhood to improve the quality of life

by: Taylor Long

Posted: May 15, 2021 / 6:40 pm EDT
Updated: May 15, 2021 / 6:49 p.m. EDT

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Oak Hill Avenue is a main drag through Youngstown’s south side. The Oak Hill Collaborative aims to revitalize the neighborhood to improve the quality of life.

Recently, however, the collaboration has made it their business to connect as many people as possible to the Internet.

They were back on Saturday telling people about a government program that included internet access and computers.

Oak Hill Collaborative hosted a workshop on the benefits of broadband emergencies on Saturday that showed the benefits and how they can help people bridge the digital divide.

“One computer at a time, one happy customer at a time,” said Anthony Hake, director of IT at Oak Hill Collaborative.

The workshop held on Saturday helped people sign up for $ 50 a month from their internet service and potentially receive hundreds of dollars from a computer through the federal stimulus package.

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“The work we’re doing here is helping them get out of this pit and use email, scan their ID and whatever may be required,” Hake said.

“We are committed to helping people get through the process and having navigators to sit down with you and take care of all the paperwork,” said Pat Kerrigan, executive director of Oak Hill Collaborative.

Kerrigan says people or families with low to middle incomes can come and sign up for these benefits.

He says that it is crucial these days that everyone has access to the internet, especially since almost everything is done online.

“When everyone is either shut down or partially shut down, we will never go back to what we were before, and therefore we will rely on the internet to communicate, do business and enjoy the quality of life,” Kerrigan said.

He says these skills are another tool for the toolbox, and the people who get help from their programs are excited to learn.

“I’m really grateful for this opportunity because it could help me a lot,” said Beverly Nemes, a Struthers resident.

Kerrigan hopes more people will use this program.