Earlier this month, Comcast joined The City of Philadelphia and a broad coalition of philanthropic and civic leaders to launch PHLConnectED to help connect low-income Philadelphia K-12 student households to free internet at home.
This week, outreach began to eligible families already identified by the School District of Philadelphia as being without an internet connection at home. The City also announced the availability of the United Way’s “211” (two-one-one) hotline for families to call to get general information about PHLConnectED, including the program’s eligibility requirements and how eligible families can get connected for the upcoming academic year.
“We’re thrilled to launch the PHLConnectED hotline and get our students ready for digital learning,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We know that many families need internet access, so we’re eager to get started on connecting them as quickly as possible. Equipping our students and their families is a critical step in bridging the digital divide in Philadelphia.”
“The launch of the 211 hotline is an incredibly important next step to help students adopt the internet and connect online,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, President of the Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation. “With outreach to eligible families underway, we will work in partnership with the city, the school district and the entire community to provide support and digital literacy training so families can fully benefit from being connected.”
The 211 hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is available in over 150 languages. Philadelphia K-12 families who do not have any in-home internet access or who have internet access only through mobile phones should call 211 and press option 1 to speak with a resource navigator. Families can expect a brief survey to help 211 resource navigators understand their needs.
“The pandemic has only underscored what we already knew to be true—digital access is essential for education and work opportunities,” said Bill Golderer, President & CEO of United Way. “Our 211 hotline makes it easy for people who need help to find programs and resources in their community. We are leveraging the power of 211, and our trained resource navigators stand ready to connect our neighbors with digital access opportunities.”
To learn more, visit the PHLConnectED website. To help Philadelphia families get connected through the program, direct them to update their information in the school district’s parent portal and to call the 211 hotline.