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City Launches Connect Chicago Initiative To Expand Digital Skills Training

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The city of Chicago has announced a new program designed to offer everyone in the city the training and skills needed to navigate the digital world, reports WBBM's Mike Krauser.

They are calling it Connect Chicago, a partnership between tech firms, foundations and the city to offer digital skills training at the public libraries.

"More than 30 percent of Chicagoans do not have internet access in their homes and one in five of every adults that have internet access have low levels of digital readiness," said Brenna Berman, commissioner of the city's Department of Innovation and Technology.


There's no shortage of people already using the libraries to get connected. Library Commissioner Brian Bannon says they are the largest providers of internet access in the city.

"Last year alone we provided three million internet sessions and computer sessions to our 80 branch locations," Bannon said.

Connect Chicago includes expansion of the Cyber Navigator program offering one-on-one training.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says those without digital skills are left behind.

"It's not dependent on your zip code, it's not dependent on your neighborhood, it's not dependent on your race or income," Emanuel said. "Everybody will have the access to be part of the 21st century in the sense of what technology is and be conversant."

Connect Chicago is looking to raise $10 million for the program over the next three years.

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