In February 2003, the Digital Inclusion (DI) unit was created within PEC’s Community Development Corporation to address the digital divide in West Philadelphia by offering free computer classes to adults. Soon after that, the DI program expanded to include basic computer classes for youth as well.
In 2010, through funding support from the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia, the Urban Affairs Coalition, LISC, and Comcast, PEC developed and managed 20 KEYSPOTS, computer labs, throughout the Philadelphia region to increase community access to the internet and computer technology. In just three years, community members made more than 80,000 visits to those KEYSPOTS managed by PEC, participated in more than 180,000 training hours, and received more than 1,000 computers through various programs. Because of its expanding role, DI’s name was change in 2012 to the Center for Digital Inclusion and Technology (CDIT).
The BTOP grant ended in 2013, so CDIT has recently refocused its efforts on providing digital literacy programming to West Philly residents while still positioning itself as a leader in digital literacy in the Philadelphia region. PEC co-chairs the Technology Learning Collaborative (TLC), a professional association of service organizations committed to leveraging technology resources to reduce poverty, improve public health, decrease homelessness, mobilize through media, and prepare individuals and communities to be more employable in the 21st century. In addition, PEC is a member of the Philly Youth Media Collaborative (PYMC), which strengthens, connects, and promotes organizations that engage youth in the creation, analysis, and distribution of media. CDIT, through its membership in these organizations and its West Philly programming, continues to be a leader among organizations promoting digital literacy in Philadelphia. Visit http://www.phillyyouthmedia.org/ to learn more about PYMC and http://www.tlcphilly.org/ to learn more about TLC.
2003 - Digital Inclusion Program started at People's Emergency Center through the support of PA Department of Commerce and Economic Development and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. PEC created a wi-fi network of 10 block radius to better serve its residents.
2004 - Teen Technology Network began focusing on computer refurbishment and building websites for local businesses.
2005 - Sixth Grade Stars started.
2009 - Digital Inclusion Program became Center for Digital Inclusion and Technology. Comcast Digital Connectors began at PEC.
2010 - PEC Center for Digital Inclusion and Technology participated in BTOP program overseeing 20 of Philadelphia 80 KEYSPOTS or public computer centers and delivering digital literacy instructions to over 36 community centers.
2011 CDIT created Pop-up lab with netbooks and tablets
2012 Sixth Grade Stars renamed as Techst@rs
2013 BTOP ended with over 80,000 visits and 8,500 people trained among 20 PEC managed computer labs and over 190,000 training hours delivered. CDIT Director, Tan Vu, recognized by Philadelphia Business Journal as Top IT Pro.
2014 Tech St@rs: Digital Design for rising 6th, 7th and 8th graders started.
2015 Village Amplifier pilot started at PEC
2016 Digital Village pilot program for parents and 1st, 2nd, 3rd graders started