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Olszewski announces new partnership with national nonprofit PCs for People to help close digital divide

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TOWSON, MD—County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Monday announced a new partnership with the national nonprofit organization PCs for People in which Baltimore County will donate surplus computer equipment to provide individuals and families in need with high quality devices at no- or low-cost.

“Attainable equipment and access to the internet is a necessity for every household in Baltimore County, and closing the digital divide is a priority for my administration,” said County Executive Olszewski. “We are committed to ensuring everyone has the tools they need to be successful and stay connected.”

Under this new, no-cost agreement, Baltimore County will donate surplus or retired tablets, desktop computers, and laptops — with the hard drives removed. PCs for People will refurbish the donated equipment and make it available to families, individuals, and nonprofits in need. All non-reusable electronic waste will be recycled sustainably with zero-landfill impact.

Since 1998, PCs for People has distributed more than 260,000 refurbished computers nationwide and recycled over 13 million pounds of technology. Residents who meet PCs for People’s income-eligibility requirements (200% federal poverty level or 60% area median income) can shop for no- or low-cost computers and internet at the nonprofit’s Baltimore City retail store or online here. PCs for People is an approved provider for the Affordable Connectivity Program benefit, which allows for a $30 discount on monthly internet service and a $100 one-time discount on a computer when paired with internet.

“We believe that everyone deserves access to quality technology at a price they can afford,” said Michael Sherrod, Managing Director of PCs for People Maryland. “We are grateful to begin this partnership with Baltimore County in their commitment to closing the digital divide and ensuring their retired technology is recycled responsibly. We look forward to working together and providing a model for how government entities and businesses can work together to make a difference for Marylanders.”

This innovative partnership is the latest step from Baltimore County to promote digital equity. Baltimore County’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is currently leading a Digital Divide Committee that includes members from various County departments to review best practices and implement equity-focused initiatives to address.

Last year, Baltimore County in partnership with Comcast, announced a grant award to expand of high-speed broadband to unserved rural areas in northwest Baltimore County, which will increase internet access to approximately 1,800 new residences. Meanwhile, Baltimore County continues to offer free computer education through its senior centers and libraries.

As a result of this work, Baltimore County was named a 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), for its efforts to promote affordable access, digital education and broadband access for underserved residents.

“Advancing digital equity means taking a whole-person approach,” said Michael Fried, Director of Baltimore County’s Office of Information Technology,” and accommodate the device needs of our residents, along with internet access, training and support. We’re excited to work with PCs for People to establish a sustainable model for access to devices for all.”

Photo via Pixabay

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