Comcast grant aims to close digital divide for veterans

By Hillary Jackson –

While the internet has made the world more connected than ever, those who can’t afford the monthly cost it requires are often left out. For Veterans Day, Comcast held an event in Beaverton, Oregon to help close the digital divide for low-income veterans, which benefited The Salvation Army Veterans and Family Center.

“According to research, nearly a third of low-income veterans do not have Internet service at home and more than 40 percent don’t own a computer,” Comcast Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen told the Associated Press. “That is unacceptable to us, which is why we are working to connect more veterans to vital online resources that can help them better navigate the complexities of daily life as civilians.”

At the Nov. 12 event, Comcast gave away 90 laptops to veterans and their families and presented a $30,000 grant to construct a new computer lab at The Salvation Army Veterans and Family Center in Beaverton.

“Our vets and their families need to access the Internet for information, to help with school, for research, to find jobs and much more. We’re thankful to Comcast for recognizing that need,” Cascade Division Divisional Commander Major Michael Zielinski told the Associated Press. “This grant will enable us to convert a storeroom into a welcoming space where our residents can apply for jobs, make medical appointments, and the kids can do their homework.”

When veterans transition from the Army’s center to permanent housing, they will qualify for $9.95 phone, internet and cable as a part of Comcast’s Internet Essentials program, which has connected over six million low-income Americans to the internet since 2011.

Among the event’s attendees were Comcast’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer David L. Cohen, Olympic medalist Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Purple Heart recipient and U.S. Paralympic gold medalist Rico Roman, who’s a resident of Portland, Oregon.

Roman told the Associated Press, “In the Army, we live by the soldier’s creed to leave no one behind. In today’s digital world, no veteran should be left on the wrong side of the digital divide either.”

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