Our July Spotlight! is a bit of a crossover because the story began the evening of June 28, when the Las Vegas Review-Journal posted “Las Vegas Program Bridges Digital Divide In Public Housing”, featuring members of the Lacksanamyxay family…Mark, 17, now majoring in IT; Lena, 15, studying culinary arts; and Jenna, the youngest, learning about sports leadership and management.
The article stated, “For each child, the availability of basic technology outside school is instrumental to success in homework and studying. Until recently, the [family] lacked home access to the internet and a device to connect to it, but the financially struggling family faced an even more dire concern: They had been living out of their car for nearly a year.”
The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority found housing for the family. However, even with a roof over their heads again, they lacked access to home-based technology. Mark recalled how he and his sisters would stay after school for 2 hours, or walk miles to the nearest library, just to use a computer.
All that changed with “Las Vegas Connected”, a partner program of ConnectHomeUSA that provides public-housing families with free tablets and devices, 2 years’ Wi-Fi access, and digital-literacy training on pre-installed apps for job and school resources.
Bonita Fahy, KRA Director, Southern Nevada One-Stop Career Centers, stated, “We realize that sometimes transportation is a barrier, and so nowadays even to apply for a job you have to have internet or access to technology.” With State, City, and community partners, the Centers provide a comprehensive array of workforce-development services, including training on the effective use of EmployNV, a job-search resource app.
In June, Ms. Fahy promoted the app on ABC13’s Morning Blend TV Show, and during a July Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE event was featured in a segment of a YouTube Video that effectively brings this story full circle: it opens with the Lacksanamyxay family’s inspirational experience, followed by several Las Vegas officials and Ms. Fahy describing how critical Las Vegas Connect and EmployNV are to school and work success.
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