REGION – Adult learners in greater Franklin County will soon be able to access a variety of adult computer courses in their own city.
Economic and Community Development of Greater Franklin in conjunction with Spruce Mountain Adult Education Centers [RSU 73] and Franklin County [RSU 9, MSAD 58, and RSU 78]secured generous funding for a three-year pilot program to provide free and accessible computer courses to beginners, business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and anyone interested in learning about various computer programs.
The grant is up to $225,000 over three years, Spruce Mountain Director of Adult and Community Education Robyn Raymond said Tuesday, Oct. 18.
“Our plan is to hire someone who will travel to all cities and townships in the greater Franklin County area,” she noted. The courses would cover computer basics such as how to turn on the computer, navigate the internet and prevent fraudulent attacks on the other end of the spectrum, she said. “If you wanted to start a business bringing broadband to Franklin County,” she noted. “Would they need Quick Books resources, how to file a [Limited Liability Corporation]everything related to digital [computer] literacy would be covered.
Funding from the grant will support a full-time position with benefits, she said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t had traction with this yet,” she noted. “The goal is to have someone as soon as possible, hopefully by November.”
The new position will be housed at Franklin County Adult Education in Farmington, travel to RSU 73 [Spruce Mountain]MSD 58 [Mt. Abram] and Rangeley, Raymond said.
The chosen instructor will travel to the far reaches of Franklin County’s northern border in Livermore, Livermore Falls and Fayette, according to an Oct. 17 statement. The instructor will deliver high-quality, personalized lessons to ensure the region is digitally prepared for the expansion of broadband connectivity, the statement said.
Learners have the option of going to one of the adult education centers in Livermore Falls or Farmington, Raymond said. “We have people on site who can teach digital literacy,” she noted. “People can earn badges like Micro[soft] and references to show their competence, which are recognized on company CVs. This is a free opportunity for all members of the community.
“We are very excited,” Franklin County Director of Adult and Community Education Nancy Allen said Thursday. “It’s a great opportunity. We are looking to help the people of Franklin County even more.
Loaner computers are available and those below the income threshold are entitled to a free tablet and subsidized internet, which Raymond says will cost $30 a month.
Charles [Charlie] Woodworth, executive director of Greater Franklin Economic and Community Development, secured the funding, Raymond said. Funding came from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation, the Betterment Fund and the Maine Community Foundation, she noted.
“We are thrilled and energized by our Franklin County partners’ focus on building digital skills in the region and that everyone can benefit from investing in broadband infrastructure across the county,” said Maggie Drummond, director of strategic partnerships for the Maine Connectivity Authority. – Bahl said. “This county-wide commitment by economic development and adult education partners is a great step forward in bridging the digital divide and using technology to unlock the benefits of telehealth and of manpower training.
The courses are for anyone who wants to learn more about computers, not just those applying for a job or currently in the workforce, the statement said. With three levels of learning offered to vary fluency with technology, the goal for Franklin County residents is to imagine being able to join the exciting world of computing by sending emails and photos, Skype with loved ones in confidence, or learn more about PowerPoint, QuickBooks or Google Analytics, he continued. These courses will teach learners how to easily communicate with their community, healthcare providers, the business community and the world at large, the statement added.
“Since 2018, partners in our area have been working to design, fund, and implement reliable high-speed internet to all addresses in Franklin County,” Woodworth said in an Oct. 22 email. . “Now we need to teach our neighbors how to use the internet safely and efficiently while remaining affordable. This initiative is called “Digital Equity”. Our primary partners at Spruce Mountain and Franklin County Adult Education have designed programs with measurable results intended to reach every corner of our county.
Contact the local adult education center today to register for this free course: Spruce Mountain  897-6406 or Franklin County  778-3460.
“These courses will help citizens, remote workers, businesses, job seekers, students, and patients benefit from this generation’s technology,” Woodworth wrote. “We are looking to hire part-time instructors who are dynamic, engaging and enjoy watching students grow.”
Email Spruce Mountain – [email protected] – or Franklin County Adult Education Center – [email protected] – if you are interested in becoming the county-wide computer connections teacher.