Technology help for all Northern Hilltown residents

The Rural Digital Divide
Many older adults have less access to information and services because they do not use technology. In our digital world this issue affects the well-being and health of people 60 and older. A large number older adults do use technology. But, many people do not. They lack access to working computers, affordable internet, or effective training. This issue is called the Digital Divide. The ability to use technology, even in limited ways, is called Digital Literacy.

The Northern Hilltowns Councils on Aging in Chesterfield, Worthington, Plainfield, Cummington, Goshen, Westhampton and Williamsburg, received a significant grant for 18 months from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. This funding lets us offer resources and services to people 60 and older in the seven hilltowns. The TECH CONNECT program will lessen the digital divide by increasing digital literacy in our seven rural communities.

The TECH CONNECT grant program builds on information gathered from the 2023 COAs Aging and Digital Technology survey. You can find survey results on the Aging & Technology Survey webpage.

Project services offered include:

1. installing Whip City or Comcast delivered high-speed internet to households without service CLICK HERE TO REQUEST SERVICE
2. arranging for discounted internet service for eligible households and senior housing communities/public spaces CLICK HERE TO REQUEST SERVICE
3. giving away laptops/tablets for those without working technology to connect to the internet CLICK HERE TO REQUEST
4. offering training to use new or existing devices through

  • classes
  • workshops
  • online trainings and
  • videos

5. providing technical support either

  • through face-to-face appointments
  • by phone and text message
  • at a drop-in center
  • exchanging emails

6. Supporting local libraries with technology devices for patron use, lending, exploration, or other

We are creating a Digital Volunteer Team of hilltown residents to meet technology needs in our towns. Knowledge and skills of various types are needed for many purposes, not all involving technology. Please consider helping in whatever ways you are able to contribute. See our Volunteer webpage for more information or click here if you are ready to help.
Watch for regular updates, volunteer opportunities, schedules for tech support and training dates. The Consortium is pleased to bring you these resources and services and invite you to participate. Your involvement and support are essential for the success of this project. We will be promoting the program with a fair this spring. There will be something for everyone, from technology skeptics to digital experts. Watch for details.