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Closing the Digital Divide: Empowering Communities through Technology Access

Closing the Digital Divide: Empowering Communities through Technology Access

In today’s increasingly digitized world, access to technology is synonymous with access to opportunities, resources, and the skills needed for success. In 2022, it’s not merely a reliable internet connection that’s required; it’s also the right technological equipment—a dependable desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile device—paired with digital literacy that empowers individuals to reach their full potential.

Markevis Gideon, Founder of NERDiT Now

Markevis Gideon, the visionary Founder of NERDiT Now, understood this truth at a young age. When a teacher bestowed upon him his first computer at the tender age of 12, it ignited a passion and opened doors to uncharted possibilities. As that computer hummed to life, a lifelong fascination was born. In time, he not only mastered the art of computer assembly and repair but also parlayed these skills into a thriving entrepreneurial career.

NERDiT Now, Gideon’s computer and mobile device repair company, embodies his commitment to giving back to the community by ensuring that technology is not only accessible but also affordable. Much like that teacher who introduced him to the boundless world of computing, NERDiT Now’s mission is to equip Delaware families and small businesses with the tools and expertise needed to bridge the digital and opportunity divides.

The journey began with the donation of hundreds of computers, including the establishment of a full computer lab at St. Patrick’s Center. But when the pandemic struck, the mission took on a new urgency. As schools and workplaces transitioned to remote environments, the demand for technology skyrocketed. Recognizing the need, NERDiT Now mobilized quickly. One hundred computers were prepared for donation, and grants from Discovery Bank, Barclays, and Capital One further bolstered the initiative. In a matter of months, over 800 laptops found their way into the hands of local schools. The impact was nothing short of transformative.

NERDiT Now’s scope expanded rapidly, encompassing a retail and repair shop, a used tech recycling and distribution center, and a forward-looking IT training program. The program not only equips individuals with the skills needed for tech jobs at NERDiT Now but also prepares them for future career paths in the technology industry.

It’s not just smaller enterprises like NERDiT Now making a difference; larger tech firms are actively engaged in local communities, too. Organizations like Urban Tech Hero, in collaboration with Google, offer career certifications and scholarships to underserved youth. Dover-based startup Rush Roto recently secured significant support from the Amazon Web Services Impact Accelerator for Black Founders.

Government leaders at the state and national levels are rightfully prioritizing universal broadband access, directing funds toward updating internet infrastructure to ensure connectivity for every home and business. However, the next crucial steps should involve partnerships with tech firms of all sizes, from startups to industry giants. Collaborative efforts can support digital skills training programs and the provision of devices to all who need them.

Senator Chris Coons, a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship, has been a vital ally throughout the pandemic, championing American technology and innovation. However, it’s essential to transcend political divides and work collaboratively. Markevis Gideon, through NERDiT Now, stands ready to join forces with government entities and tech firms to ensure that no one is left without the technology and resources needed to construct bridges and finally close the digital and opportunity divides.

The mission is clear: by providing access to technology and nurturing digital literacy, we empower individuals and uplift entire communities, leaving no one behind in the digital age.