Train the City

Train the City

NLD ID #89080

Contact Information

2209 Rosewood Ave.
Austin, TX 78702

Primary Contact

Juanita Budd

(512) 236-8225 Ext:121

Hours of Operation

M-F 9-4pm

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Program Overview

Train the City is a flagship program at Austin Free-Net (AFN) that will increase digital literacy by teaching a broad spectrum of digital literacy skills to members of the community on a one-on-one basis. Clients come to computer labs at AFN to receive free web access; and at select locations, to get free digital training. Currently, in order to fulfill clients desires, volunteers come to our free, open public access labs to tutor AFN clients on how to use computing technology; most significantly: how to apply for health and financial benefits, how to search for and apply to jobs, how to create and utilize an email account, and how to best utilize the Austin Independent School District's (AISD) Parent/Cloud portal. Our desire is to place four paid staff trainers in four of our public access labs who will tutor clients in the tasks that the aforementioned volunteers are currently responsible for. Having paid staff trainers will increase the hours that clients will get tutored, and will give the clients a schedule that they can rely on. The goal of the Train the City program is to serve 4,561 clients: each gaining at least three new digital skills; and each demonstrating "understand" and "create" skills (explained in question 9: program evaluation).

The critical issue that is addressed in Train the City is the gap in digital literacy between people who have access to and know how to use computing technology, and those who do not have access or knowledge about computing technology. 55,000 Austin residents currently do not have access to the Internet. The lack of computer skills and Internet connection limits one's ability to access educational information, and attain opportunities for higher education. Individuals who do not use the Internet also have significantly less success than Internet users when finding and applying for jobs. These individuals face significant disadvantages in society: limited access to goods and services, difficulty in finding and applying for financial aid and health benefits, difficulty finding information, and difficulty finding and connecting with loved ones/family/peers are among the most significant. When people cannot find work, and families cannot support themselves; financial stress can create a heavy, discouraging force that makes it hard for individuals to thrive, and live at peace. The repercussions of unemployment echo out into the community via less tax revenue, and increased social service expenditures.

The aforementioned difficulties that these individuals face are all addressed and reduced in Austin Free Net's Train the City program. Our trainers are trained to teach and empower those who come to our computer labs so that they can help satisfy the client's employment, financial, health, educational, and relational needs. With more of the public in the workforce, the community will benefit; because a lower unemployment rate means increased tax revenue. More importantly, a family that earns a livable wage or greater is able can possibly alleviate themselves of their past financial stress. With focus off of basic needs, a family can focus on saving for higher education; which could keep their children above the poverty level in the future.

Student and Volunteer Success Stories

Jan Morgan is a single parent who lives in the Lakeside apartments: a living quarters subsidized by the housing authority of the city of Austin. Jan attendant both the Tech-Starters I and Tech-Starters II classes at Austin Free-Net. Both programs provide computer training in English and Spanish; targeting populations struggling towards employment. Jan attended 36 different training sessions, and gained 280 new skills (recorded in our tracking system) throughout her attendance in the Tech-Starter programs. Jan was the Vice President of the Lakeside Resident Council at the Lakeside apartments, and used her training to create a power point presentation for a council meeting. Jan was also able to create her own website after attending both programs. Jan told an AFN trainer how excited she was to both know and share the material that she learned, with her kids when she got home. Jan has always helped with AFN outreach efforts; she promotes the Tech Starter II program to other residents from different Housing Authorities.

This program listing was last updated: May 10, 2016.

All information has been provided by this organization. Do you see outdated information? Please contact NLD Support.

Education services

  • Improve my technology skills

Instruction Type

  • In-person
  • Online