What would we have done without technology this past year? When we couldn’t be together in person, Zoom kept us in touch. Older adults who were isolated and alone discovered new ways to connect to community. People of all ages seeking employment could interview for jobs. Yet, there are still challenges to making technology accessible for all. Now, UJA is investing in new tech projects to give more people access to activities, communities, and job training.
Seniors Get Plugged In
• Kibbitz Online is a new online hub of virtual events for older adults created by our partner 70 Faces Media. Seniors get access to over 30 classes a week from our nonprofit partners and synagogues that include fitness programs, concerts, lectures, support groups, tech courses, cooking lessons, and more. With Kibbitz Online, seniors any place on the map can tap into their favorite activities and get more choices than their local senior center may be able to offer.
• Tech Helpline for the 60+ Community offers technical support in English, Russian, and Spanish to older adults through Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). Funding from UJA, the J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation, and the Jeannette R. & Sidney L. Solomon Foundation make this helpline available Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Trusted technical support specialists offer assistance with Wi-Fi, basic computer functions, and other services.
• UNIPER’s in-home interactive older adult programs gives 100 older adults access to live programs through their televisions. Our support makes it possible for older adults to get Wi-Fi access and a device installed on their tv set through UNIPER, an Israeli tech startup. Along with our partners Commonpoint Queens and JASA, seniors can still enjoy online programs from agencies even when they don’t know how to use technology or have the means to learn it.
Job Seekers Get Tech Savvy
Digital Equity Now provides laptops, internet access, and tech education for individuals struggling with financial insecurity, often those looking for work and receiving assistance through the Queens Hub or the Local Covid Relief Hubs located at Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), Educational Alliance, and the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst. Underserved adults without tech know-how lack job skills and access to job search platforms. This project offers both the tools and the training adults need so they can develop and improve their computer skills — with the goal of becoming marketable for more job opportunities.