Low-income individuals gain access to computer world

UBCO and Interior Savings team up to ensure those in need gain essential computer skills...

A local partnership is breaking down barriers to ensure those in need gain essential computer skills in this technologically-advanced day in age.

UBC Okanagan has teamed up with Interior Savings to provide computer skills through its Learning Exchange program low-income individuals and those struggling with homelessness.

Interior Savings Credit Union has donated $25,000 to get the program online with 20 laptops.

Through the work of the Learning Exchange at UBC’s Okanagan campus and community partners, the need for such a program was identified and Interior Savings stepped up to provide the funding while UBC students will provide the training.

“Interior Savings has seen the value in the work we do in collaboration with community partners right from the start. Their support allows us to create innovative and outside-the-box projects and programs,” said Phil Bond, Learning Exchange manager at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

“What I like about this program is it removes the barriers for individuals who are looking to improve their computer skills, and puts them into a comfortable environment.”

Bond adds that early feedback from students “is very positive, they are really enjoying the opportunity to give back to the community and are learning about themselves in the process.”

The capital support from Interior Savings made the program possible.

“As a locally based credit union, our success is closely tied to the health and vitality of the communities we serve,” said Kathy Conway, president and CEO of Interior Savings.

“The UBC Learning Exchange provides a unique opportunity for us to support students in their efforts to strengthen the community.

“Computer skills are so important in today’s work force and for day-to-day tasks in general.

“The Computer Literacy Program will give students real-world experience, reinforce community values and provide valuable training for people who otherwise couldn’t afford it.”

The program will be sustainable and plans are to offer it for many years with multiple community partners focused on expanding opportunities for the clients.

he financial institution also contributed $5,000 to the Interior Savings Lifelong Learner Bursary for students who have one or more dependents and are returning to post-secondary education after a pause in their studies of a year or more.