501cTECH has developed a new program called "The Smart Lab Advantage" in response to a growing need for access to computers and the internet. We've reached a point in time where it's very difficult to thrive professionally and personally without access these resources. They've become essential in social service programs as things like GED prep and testing, government benefit notifications, the Affordable Care Act, and more happen almost entirely online. It's also considerably more difficult to enter the job market without access to a computer on which to write a resume or submit an application.
Our nonprofit partners YWCA NCA and Friendship Place rely heavily on computers and computer labs to help their constituents. Without a functioning computer lab, those organizations wouldn't be able to help people in our community enter the workforce or enroll in social benefit programs.
With computer labs, there is an increased burden on staff to know how to set up and maintain those labs. Many nonprofits are simply inventing—and investing—as they go with few opportunities to learn from or share with other practitioners. With The Smart Lab Advantage, 501cTECH will help bridge the gap between an increasingly digitized world and the nonprofits that serve our most at-need citizens. The program will provide a template for lab creation and maintenance, engaging nonprofits and technology providers across the region in creating a best practice manual. During the implementation phase, 501cTECH will use this manual to establish or improve the labs of our nonprofit clients.