Kansas City, Missouri (February 17, 2023) – Access, adoption, and use are three words that are often correlated with closing the Digital Divide. Ensuring that individuals and communities have access to the devices, connections, and knowledge that allow them to get online is the first and foremost step. Language can be a major barrier to imparting essential digital skills to the communities that need them. That’s why Alek Argueta is excited to help the national nonprofit Connected Nation (CN) reach Spanish-speaking communities across the country.
Spending most of his life in West Texas, Argueta grew up speaking Spanish and witnessing the hard work of America’s immigrants.
“We are about an hour and half from the border,” said Argueta of Alpine, Texas. “It is a very heavily immigrant, Spanish-speaking population.”
Argueta began his career in workforce development, which helped prepare him for his new role at CN as Facilitator for Digital Works courses. The Digital Works program provides digital skills training and placement assistance for remote, work-from-home jobs.
“I was working with libraries and school districts in Marfa, Texas, and helping them with their digital resources,” said Argueta. “We actually had Connected Nation bring digital literacy courses to the retired people in the community.”
Argueta is now using his experiences to connect communities across the country by facilitating Digital Works courses in both English and Spanish. Topics include internet basics, email basics, video conferencing, and cybersecurity. CN is able to offer these courses as part of an initiative funded via the AT&T Connected Learning program.
“These skills really open the door for Spanish speakers who are just learning English. If they have access to a computer or phone, they can contact their family back home or find job opportunities,” said Argueta. “Where I am from, we mostly have ranchers and farmers. There aren’t many opportunities for jobs outside of that. Expanding peoples’ reach to more remote jobs would be very beneficial to the area.”
Argueta hopes that teaching these skills can bring awareness to the opportunities that are out there for everyone, especially America’s Spanish-speaking immigrants.
“It brings me joy to help people learn and to potentially empower someone to look at a different career opportunity,” said Argueta. “There are so many different jobs out there that people don’t even know about.”
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