Community Information

A Brave Bridge over the Divide

At Incourage, we believe that information is as vital to a healthy community as clean air, safe streets, good schools and public health. That’s why Incourage has committed its resources to this powerful initiative: We can and must span the digital divide with a bridge that leads to information and opportunity.

Today, there is a “digital divide”—an inequality of access to information plus a need to increase residents’ computer and Internet skills.

More information is available today than ever before, especially online. However, not everyone has access. Did you know that over 90% of job applications today are available online only, and most new jobs require basic computer skills?

Many residents need tools, skills and access—the right opportunities to consume and produce information, the knowledge to discern best sources of valuable information, the ability to participate fully in local community, and now more than ever, to find work and improve their quality of life.

Bridging this digital divide is vital to our future. Take a look at some of the work we’ve achieved through our partnerships with local educational institutions, libraries, businesses, volunteers, and MIT’s Center for Civic Media and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

Read» Realization in Central Wisconsin: How Incourage Used Information to Build Hope and Speed Community Change, prepared by FSG and Network Impact for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, February 2013

Access

  • Over 6,000 residents connected via phone and Web to public safety information through Nixle alerts
  • MIT Project: What’s Up real-time community information system for residents in employment transition; watch MIT’s What’s Up presentation here
  • 13,600 Vital Signs reports distributed

Capacity

  • 720 hours of potential free Online Job Application Training added at local libraries
  • 13 free Computer Skills classes open to the public, helping 1,300 individuals master basic computer skills
  • 4 Technology Days at local libraries giving residents the opportunity to test new products

Engagement and Action

  • 80 residents developing solutions to the digital divide
  • 12 community volunteers
  • 28 students volunteering to increase digital literacy
  • 3 task forces created, involving 13 organizations


For additional information, contact:
Liz Everson | leverson@incouragecf.org | 715.423.3863