Learn2Earn Pilot Program
The City of Charlotte is committed to digital inclusion as part of its work on upward mobility. During the February 2023 presentation to City Council, staff outlined a multi-phased approach to reducing the digital inclusion gap in Charlotte. In partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and the Center for Digital Equity, the free Learn2Earn program pilot was developed to offer residents an opportunity to earn a new device while developing job-related skills.
Individuals who demonstrate completion of eight courses offered for free at the library will have the opportunity to earn a new, 3-year factory warranted, full-functioning, high quality computer, sufficient to meet a wide array of goals. These trainings are selected to build confidence, improve self-sufficiency, and connect efforts around digital literacy to resources and skills that could result in better paying jobs.
- Basic Computer Skills (Based off of the top 10 baseline skills in demand in Charlotte)
- Internet Basics
- Using Email
- Microsoft Word
- Excel Basics
- Resume Writing Workshop
- Mock Virtual Interviews
- One-on-One Career Coaching
How to Register
Registration for the Learn2Earn pilot program will be first come, first served, and limited to 100 participants. Registration for residents opened during July 2023 at the West Boulevard Library.
Participants must be 18 or older and live near the West Boulevard corridor of Charlotte, NC. Residents will need an email address that is regularly checked to complete the program. Library staff can assist future participants in setting up an email account if needed.
Library staff will help eligible participants schedule in-person or virtual sessions to complete the eight courses of the Learn2Earn curriculum. Virtual offerings may be done at home, if available, or at the West Boulevard Library.
Most of the courses are self-paced and exam proctoring will be offered on various days/times. In-person sessions will also be offered on multiple days/times to allow for schedule variations among participants.
The laptops will only be distributed to participants who fulfill all course requirements.
Getting Your Laptop
One laptop will be awarded per person who completes all of the courses required for the program.
Participants will have until September 22, 2023, to complete the curriculum requirements. The goal of Learn2Earn is to help complete foundational skill-building around digital capacity by coupling computer devices and digital literacy. To make sure you have fulfilled all requirements complete the Learn2Earn checklist that is emailed to residents who register for the program. Library staff can assist future participants in setting up an email account in order to register for the program.
The laptops will only be distributed to participants who fulfill all requirements. Additional computer equipment will be provided throughout the program, as individual courses are completed.
The deadline to complete all requirements is Friday, September 22. Participants who complete all requirements will be notified which day they can pick up their computer in the West Boulevard Corridor. There will be two separate dates: one in late September and one in early October.
Residents are required to show their photo ID to pick up their laptop. The name on the photo ID provided must match the registration information.
How the Learn2Earn Pilot is Funded
On June 20, 2023, over 5,000 households were given access to free gigabit-speed internet in their homes through ARPA funding approved by the City Council. The Council also approved ARPA and CARES funding for Digital Navigation services which provide needed internet adoption support through marketing, engagement, basic tech support, enrollment support, and referral to other digital and tech services.
The Learn2Earn program pilot is supported by these funds to help residents build foundational skills around digital capacity through coupling computer devices and digital literacy.
Will this program be offered again?
This is a pilot effort through the City of Charlotte, funded with a grant and done in partnership with multiple organizations. While the hope is to offer this program in other parts of Charlotte in the future, due to funding, that is not guaranteed at this time.
The City of Charlotte is open and actively looking for organizations that would like to partner with city leadership to provide additional technological resources and education to residents.
What if I do not currently live in this service area, but need a device?
Due to funding the pilot program service area is limited at this time. However, Digital Navigators with the Center for Digital Equity (CDE) may be able to help connect you with services and device distributions in other areas of the city. To connect with the CDE, dial 311 and ask to speak with a Digital Navigator.