Comcast announced the opening of its first Wi-Fi-connected Lift Zone in Grand Rapids at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.
The Lift Zone at 1204 Grandville Ave. SW is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.
Lift Zones from Comcast provide free robust Wi-Fi hotspots in safe spaces designed to help students get online, participate in distance learning and do their homework. Lift Zones also serve adults and can connect them to online adult education, job searches, health care information and public assistance. These sites offer access to hundreds of hours of digital skills content to help families and site coordinators navigate online learning.
“The families our center serves face many challenges, especially now during the pandemic,” said Evelyn Esparza, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. “Access to the internet is critical, and we are proud to join Comcast to create a safe environment where our visitors can connect to learn, find jobs and access the resources to help them thrive.”
Comcast also announced the opening of another Life Zone in Holland at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland’s South Side location, 435 Van Raalte Ave. The Lift Zone is open Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m.
“Our club members will be able to use our Lift Zone to access the internet during the end of the school year and throughout the summer to get a jump on the new academic year in the fall,” said Craig Spoelhof, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland.
In March, Comcast announced it will invest $1 billion nationally over the next 10 years to help further close the digital divide and give even more low-income Americans the tools and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
“Solving a problem as vast and complex as the digital divide requires collaboration with schools, elected officials, nonprofit community partners and other private-sector companies,” said Tim Collins, senior vice president of Comcast in Michigan. “Since 2011 when Comcast launched its Internet Essentials program, we’ve been fortunate to partner with several local organizations that share our passion for digital equity, like the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.”
Internet Essentials offers households low-cost, broadband Internet service for $9.95/month, the option to purchase a heavily subsidized computer and multiple options for free digital literacy training.
Comcast’s $1 billion commitment includes investments in several areas, including additional support for its ongoing Lift Zone initiative; new laptop and computer donations; grants for nonprofit community organizations to create opportunities for low-income Americans, particularly in media, technology and entrepreneurship; and continued investment in the Internet Essentials program.
It is estimated these new commitments will impact as many as 50 million Americans over the next 10 years. In 2021 alone, Comcast estimated students will be able to complete more than 25 million hours of remote learning lessons to further address the “homework gap” at the hundreds of Lift Zone locations that have already opened or will open soon.