East Hawaii News

Digital Literacy Training Available via Vibrant Hawaiʻi

December 15, 2021, 4:00 PM HST
* Updated December 15, 4:03 PM
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Big Island residents will have the opportunity to learn the basics of computer skills during upcoming workshops hosted by Vibrant Hawaiʻi.

The organization is offering free digital literacy training as part of its Digital Literacy Demonstration Project. The new program promotes computer literacy by providing classes and technology tools for up to 500 Hawaiʻi Island residents through March 2022.

“Since the web has become our society’s main medium of communication, it is crucial for people to learn how to access online resources,” said Caroline Landry, a Vibrant Hawaiʻi board member. “When they do, they get more chances, more choices.”

Digital literacy is the ability to find, evaluate and clearly communicate information through typing and other media on various digital platforms. Digital literacy is increasingly vital in today’s society, especially in the workplace. Forty percent of Hawaiʻi residents show less digital readiness compared with the national average of 19%. Hawaiʻi County falls behind the rest of the state with 54% of residents showing less digital readiness, according to the Hawaiʻi Digital Literacy and Readiness Study.

The study from this year says the most effective strategies for growing digital readiness in Hawaiʻi County include:

  • Focusing on online skills as the foundation in addition to creative, employment and financial skills.
  • Targeting those working in sectors such as building/construction, agriculture, service and financial/banking as well as retired residents, homemakers or the unemployed.
  • Increasing awareness of virtual opportunities.
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The Digital Literacy Demonstration Project will teach participants the skills they need to navigate important digital landscapes: Telehealth, online benefit applications, online employment applications and more.

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“The purpose of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of allowing community to lead in sharing their knowledge, skill and expertise with each other – and it is an example of community-led development,” said Vibrant Hawaiʻi Executive Director Janice Ikeda. “We also hope to provide valuable data to scale and develop future initiatives that support digital equity and opportunities that move Hawaiʻi Island ahead in the tech economy landscape. Ultimately, this project is part of Vibrant Hawaiʻi’s mission to empower our community with equitable access to resources to thrive.”

Community-based instructors located in Kaʻū, South Kona, North Kohala/Waimea, Hāmākua, Hilo and Puna will provide the fre training using the Northstar online curriculum. Workshops are conducted in small, casual groups.

“This is a much-needed project for Hawaiʻi Island,” said project director Noel Morin. “It will create awareness of an important ‘teach one to fish’ opportunity and address it through community member-led training. I expect many program participants to share their knowledge with others in the peer groups and families, magnifying impact. I’m also thrilled that our program will be using laptops that are refurbished locally, thus supporting upcycling of computers.”

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Find additional information about the program and free training by clicking here.

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