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The city of San Diego has launched a digital literacy program offering free in-person classes for any San Diegan who wants to learn how to use a computer and better navigate the Internet.

City Council President Pro Tem Monica Montgomery Steppe spoke of the Tech on the Go program, a collaboration with the San Diego Futures Foundation, in front of the Malcolm X/Valencia Park Library on Thursday.

“To close the digital divide, we need to get creative about bringing access and opportunity to neighborhoods that need it the most,” she said. “The Tech on the Go program will do just that by providing free classes at libraries and rec centers that are available to anyone who wants to improve their computer skills or learn how to better use the internet.

“This is all about empowering our fellow San Diegans by giving them the knowledge and skills to make their way in what is an increasingly digital world,” Montgomery Steppe said.

Program instructors will visit libraries, recreation centers, and community centers to provide classes to improve computer and online literacy. Classes are open to people of all skill levels and laptops are provided during the class for those who need one.

Courses include “How to Use Zoom,” “Mouse & Typing Skills,” “Internet Safety,” and “How to Use a Smartphone/Laptop,” with topics changing monthly. Each two-hour class session includes an hour of instruction on a specific topic followed by an hour of open office time where individuals can get one-on-one help from instructors. Computers and devices are also available for purchase.

“Our foundation has over 20 years of experience in getting San Diegans connected, from refurbishing computers for low-income families to teaching seniors how to use the internet,” said Thomas Rhee, executive director of the San Diego Futures Foundation. “This latest partnership with the city will help bolster the computer and internet skills for hundreds of individuals every month and the best part is we’re bringing these classes to a neighborhood library or rec center near you.”

To sign up for a class, San Diegans can go to sdfutures.org/digital- literacy or ask a city librarian for assistance. Hard copies of monthly class schedules are also posted in participating libraries and recreation centers.

“Far too many San Diegans have been left behind when it comes to accessing the internet and we’re on a mission to right that wrong,” said Library Director Misty Jones. “We’ve done a lot to expand public Wi-Fi that everyone can use and now we’re taking the next step by offering free classes so folks can get the most out of using the internet, whether it’s learning how to use Zoom or applying for a job online.”

Classes are currently being offered at seven locations:

— Central Library, 330 Park Blvd.;

— Logan Heights Library, 567 S. 28th St.;

— Park de la Cruz Recreation Center, 3911 Landis St.;

— San Ysidro Library, 4235 Beyer Blvd.;

— Sherman Heights Community Center, 2258 Island Ave.;

— Skyline Library, 7900 Paradise Valley Road; and

— Valencia Park/Malcolm X Library, 5148 Market St.

— City News Service



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Ellen Bullock