Having internet access in the home is essential for many important opportunities, including:
- Job research and applications
- Health care information
- Online educational opportunities for both children and adults
- Ease of comparing purchase prices and finding the best deals
- Manage finances or research other things that would be a benefit
Low-income households often can’t afford internet access. So, many are left without access to the great resources they can find online.
Internet access for $9.95 a month
To combat the disparity for low-income New Mexicans, six years ago Comcast introduced their Internet Essentials Program (the information is also available in Spanish.) Since the program’s founding, Comcast New Mexico has connected more than 88,000 New Mexicans (in 22,000 households) for $9.95 a month plus tax, most for the first time.
New Mexicans can qualify for the program if they have at least one child who is eligible for the National School Lunch Program, or if they receive HUD housing assistance.
The program also includes an option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150 and access to free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.
Increased Internet Service Speed
This year, new and existing customers can enjoy increased speeds of up to 15/2 Mbps. This speed is adequate for three devices to stream an HD video at the same time.
Also, participants in the program will receive 40 hours of free WiFi access via Xfinity WiFi hotspots. A hotspot is a wireless connection available outside the home. So, users can take their laptops with them and find a hotspot for internet access. Also, instead of relying on cell data for mobile devices like phones, users can connect to a hotspot.
We’re proud to say that Comcast New Mexico is a partner and member of the NMTC. If you’re interested in becoming a member of NMTC, check out our member page.
Organizations and technology companies in New Mexico are focused on making a positive change to the level of available tech talent. One example of a coordinated effort in that change is the New Mexico Information Technology Apprenticeship Program (NMITAP).
Developing Something New and Innovative
The NMITAP is run and maintained by CNM Ingenuity, Inc., a branch of the Central New Mexico Community College. The program was started after CNM received a 3 million dollar grant from the Department of Labor.
The NMITAP team has been working hard in its first year and a half with employer partners and the State Apprenticeship Office to create the training programs.
They’ve created the first Information Technology (IT) registered apprenticeship program in the state. In addition, most apprenticeships are run from a company or support organization. However, in this case, NMITAP has the resources of a community college behind them.
Offerings in the Program
NMITAP currently offers three different program tracks:
- Customer User Support Specialist
- Network Support Technician
- Applications Developer
The team is working on the training and approval process for:
- Cyber Security Support Technician
- Medical Coder
Sue Buffington, Director of the NMITAP, says “There’s so much potential. We’re looking at sustaining this beyond the five-year grant. Plus, we’re looking at adding more tracks like advanced manufacturing, and health IT.”
Technology Training Process
The NMITAP team does most of the work. The process runs like this:
- The NMITAP recruits individuals to apply to the apprenticeship program. The program’s target market includes women, veterans, and the unemployed.
- The NMITAP recruits a business that’s interested in hiring apprentices.
- The business creates or has an open position for the apprentice, and pays them a wage.
- An apprentice starts at the business as a paid employee, receives on-the-job training, also receives program specific training in the form of free classes through NMITAP.
Companies can also talk with NMITAP about signing on current employees who could use training in the programs offered.
Working the System
How is it working so far? Melissa Huerta, HR Director at UnityBPO says, “We love it and it’s been really fruitful in fulfilling the job roles we needed.”
UnityBPO hired six apprentices through the program for Computer User Support Specialists. They use job shadowing and on-the-job-training to teach new employees. The most important thing they’ve found is that these apprentices must have the ability to problem solve and are interested in learning.
NMTC Added Value
Buffington says she really appreciates her connection with New Mexico Technology Council (NMTC). Initially, NMITAP contracted with NMTC last year to promote the program. The NMTC set up information sessions; utilized their contacts, talked to employers, and got some employer interest. The NMTC also helped recruit potential apprentices.
More recently, the NMITAP is partnering with the NMTC on marketing. The NMTC will promote them on social media in order to spread the word about the beneficial program. “They’ve been wonderful to work with,” says Buffington.
The NMITAP is looking for more companies to sign on. If you’re a company and you need workers with knowledge in the tracks that NMITAP offers, contact them at email@example.com to see if this is a partnership for you.