I.T. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
E2D’s I.T. Workforce Development program consists of two core activities:
E2D’s Technology Labs (“Re-Image CLT”): We hire, train and employ high school students (currently 50 on-staff) as computer technicians to refurbish and re-image decommissioned corporate laptops. These computers are then redistributed to families that remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. Since 2013, over 300 students have gone through training & employment, with 80% going on to college with the other 20% using their new skills to find excellent post-high school employment in the IT sector.
E2D Technology Academies provide high school students with direct exposure to all sectors of the IT industry. We have been fortunate to have over 25 local corporations participate in our expansive workforce development programs. On-going programming and mentorship opportunities are offered with members of Charlotte’s IT elite and corporate communities to engage students in areas such as software development, web design, systems analysis, networking, communications, information technology, information systems management, cyber-security, coding, and financial technology.
The Re-Image CLT model creates a perfect ecosystem of sustainability. Student technicians have not only participated in E2D’s program to obtain their first-ever computers but also acquire critical IT skills that empower them to earn jobs making 2x the minimum wage...all while still in high school...building out the next set of computers for their classmates and beyond...creating their own pathways of opportunity and hopes for a brighter future.
The product of our lab technicians’ work is refurbished laptops with new operating systems and unrestricted access to the internet. We then provide these computers to families for a very low cost or for free. E2D works with dozens of other non-profit organizations and wrap-around agencies that also serve families with need, such as The United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and the Federal McKinney-Vento Homeless program. Lastly, E2D works with some corporate philanthropists to cover the full purchase price for a certain constituency or select group of recipients, like Charter/Spectrum does annually, directing free laptops to Charlotte’s home insecure populations.
In 2021, Bank of America donated 10,000 laptops that E2D was able to distribute at no cost to thousands of CMS families across the Charlotte region.
DIGITAL INCLUSION/BROADBAND ACCESS
To be “Digitally Included” in this region, there must be assurances that all individuals and communities, including the most disadvantaged, have access to and the full use of 21st Century information and communication technology tools.
These tools include 5 elements:
Affordable, robust, reliable, and unlimited broadband internet service;
Internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user;
Access to digital literacy training;
Quality technical support; and
Applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration.
E2D proudly participates in Digital Navigators with our lab techs putting in hours on the 311 tech support hotline. The Digital Navigator service is designed to ensure that everyone in Mecklenburg County can find and connect with available digital inclusion resources.
Digital Navigators help community members navigate to and through:
Signing up for affordable home broadband internet service
Purchasing affordable technology
Basic device and connectivity issues
Learning new digital skills