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This content was published: October 7, 2022. Phone numbers, email addresses, and other information may have changed.

PCC hosts kickoff of Digital Inclusion Week with Bonamici in attendance

Story & Photos By Colette Tipper.

To kick off Digital Inclusion Week, the City of Portland, in partnership with Portland Community College, convened private and public leaders to speak about work happening across the region to close the digital equity gap. The conversation, held at the Cascade Campus on Monday, Oct. 3, was led by Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, Commissioner Carmen Rubio; and the City of Portland’s Director of the Office of Community Technology Elisabeth Perez.Roundtable

PCC Dean of Student Belonging and Wellbeing Lauren Smith welcomed the group. Smith has been a part of PCC’s work on digital inclusion and spoke about the college’s efforts to connect students with technology and digital supports during the pandemic. She also discussed how PCC is expanding these efforts, including free digital literacy workshops for beginner computer users and the provision of devices for students. 

The discussion then highlighted programs and initiatives working to increase digital literacy throughout the Portland region. Multnomah County Library’s Digital Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Alonso Melendez spoke about how the library is connecting Multnomah County households without internet access to technology. Multnomah County Library is Oregon’s largest provider of free internet and is currently partnering with PCC to provide digital literacy resources.  

Stakeholders also emphasized a critical need for continued investments in digital literacy and inclusion as we move to the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the digital literacy divide, and it is clear that sustainable programs connecting community members to technology will be essential to continued regional development.