Korean American Community Services
Korean Community Nonprofit Teaches Digital Literacy with Tech Donation
Korean American Community Services serves Korean Americans and low-income and immigrant families living in Chicago in the Albany Park and Irving Park neighborhoods. The organization has learned that education is the key to empowerment and provides the best community-based educational opportunities to families with very little resources.
Sixty percent of adults in Albany Park over the age of 25 are high school dropouts and 21 percent of adults over 25 have less than a 9th grade education. A third of Albany Park residents and 26 percent of Irving Park residents are not in the workforce. Low-income, low-education households are digitally and socially isolated. As technology becomes increasingly significant in the economy, digital competency becomes more necessary for job seekers.
KACS created its digital literacy program so that low-income families can stay digitally connected to other people, important news sources, and information. This training, along with multimedia programs and other technology-related courses, impacts the whole community. Digital training is offered to a wide range of ages from 3 to 90 years old.
After receiving Microsoft donations through TechSoup, KACS's digital literacy program has grown and now offers certification training. This includes a certification in basic computing (IC3), which demonstrates that the individual has a broad knowledge of key Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. As an IC3 testing site, KACS has given over 400 people the opportunity to take certification preparation classes toward IC3.
The organization's youth programs also help at-risk youth achieve academic and professional success. Youth programming provides opportunities in hardware and software training that opens up more opportunities in higher education.