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Initiative targets teaching low-income El Pasoans computer skills

EL PASO, Texas -- A new study shows 18 million low-income Americans do not have access to high-speed internet service, and as a result, lack computers and computer skills.

Several groups, including Microsoft and El Paso Public Libraries, are hoping to change that in the Borderland by providing basic computer skills to 45 El Pasoans.

ABC-7 caught up with one elderly woman who is taking advantage of that initiative and learning how to use a computer, with the goal of owning a laptop of her own.

“How much are you on a computer? Hardly at all. 'Cause I don't have one. Okay. Why not? Because I can't afford one." said 69-year-old Karen Albrecht, who admits she knows very little about surfing the internet.

The initiative targets low-income families, like Albrecht, whose only income is her social security check.

"I've learned a lot, actually. I'm not very savvy when it comes to computers and phones and things like that," said Albrecht.

"Computers are the future, they're now. It's how we communicate with our employers, or student's teacher, its how we now conduct some of our health appointments. So its critical to ensure that folks have these resources at home,” said Norma Chavez, who is the CEO of EveryoneOn - which is the name of the initiative.

Chavez said the pandemic taught the nation why it’s necessary for people to have the tools to connect with the rest of the world.

El Paso Library workers teaching folks like Albrecht know that opening up a computer for the first time can be intimidating, so they teach them using one keystroke at a time.

Thursday was the final class for Albrecht and fellow classmates.

Once they're done, thanks to the initiative, they will walk away with a laptop they can take home, as well as access to low-cost, high-speed internet.

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

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