Comcast Washington and YWCA Seattle King Snohomish on Monday unveiled plans to build a new Lift Zone Lab: Digital Community Learning Space, which offers free WiFi access, at YWCA’s Somerset Village Apartments in Lynnwood. According to a joint news release, Comcast is contributing free internet connectivity — a $76,000 investment — and a state-of-the-art technology makeover, to help build the new lab.
YWCA’s Somerset Village Apartments is a 64-unit complex of affordable, permanent housing for families earning 60% and below the area’s median income. Residents also have access to case management, support services, community services and referrals to health care, job training and employment resources. The Digital Community Learning Space will enhance these supports by making technology available to help residents attain life and job skills through training, education, computer classes, internships, job placement, and more, the news release said.
“Digital inequity means that those who already face systemic challenges are being blocked from opportunities for economic mobility. Without the appropriate digital education, support, and skills application, many more will be left behind,” said Mary Anne Dillon, YWCA’s Executive Director of Snohomish County.
“Thanks to this partnership with Comcast, the youth and parents we serve will have better access to up-to-date technology and STEAM tools that will equip them with the needed skills to compete in our ever-advancing job market,” said Cena Conteh, YWCA’s community center coordinator for the Somerset Village Apartments.
“Women’s History Month is the perfect time to recognize the important role that YWCA plays in bringing equitable resources to women and people of color,” said Rodrigo Lopez, region senior vice president, Comcast Washington. “We are partnering and building labs with organizations like YWCA because they help historically marginalized people understand how to use technology to better their lives. This lab will help them embrace technology to find jobs, housing, and a stable footing in life.”
Comcast is providing the lab with free WiFi as part of the company’s effort to roll out its “Lift Zones” program in local community centers throughout Washington and across the nation. In collaboration with cities, community organizations, and local nonprofit partners, Comcast has now installed free WiFi in more than 90 community centers statewide.
This effort is part of Project UP, Comcast’s company-wide initiative to advance digital equity, which includes Internet Essentials, Since 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than 56,000 low-income residents in Snohomish County to broadband internet at home, the overwhelming majority of whom were not signed up before.