New York Public Library’s Tech Connect is a profiled program in the Plugging In Report.
Who is served: Adults
Number of participants served annually: 118,000
Location: Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx
Eligibility Criteria: n/a
Application process: n/a
Curriculum: digital literacy
Skill level: Basic, intro
Outcomes: Training in digital literacy gives participants the baseline skills they need to pursue more advanced coding education, or to qualify for many jobs that require the ability to use a computer and office suite software, or navigate the internet and understand HTML.
Partnerships: Google, Anchor, CodeAcademy, Pursuit
Sources of funding: TechConnect is funded in part by Bank of America and Wiley. It also receives support from several other corporate and private philanthropies, as well as NYC Connected Communities, a program of the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications.
What makes this program stand out? The New York Public Library (NYPL)’s TechConnect program is the largest tech training programs operating in New York City. TechConnect serves over 100,000 NYC residents each year through over 80 digital literacy courses which are offered at nearly all branch library locations in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. The courses prepare students for the digital world, and include classes in computer basics, Microsoft Office programs, social media, and how to build a website. TechConnect is special for offering tech training in languages other than English, including Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
Beyond digital literacy classes, TechConnect provides space for students to explore innovative technology and creative editing tools. It also offers one-on-one help via Open Labs. NYPL has plans to add virtual reality courses in addition to a slew of production and digital media classes.
What do participants need to succeed? Participants pay no tuition, and do not need to commit to rigorous attendance. This gives participants the opportunity to take a variety of courses that pique their interest. It also allows working participants to maintain regular work schedules whileattending.
What does the organization need? Funding to hire more people to expand offerings and outreach.