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Freedom Rings Partnership

More than 40 percent of Philadelphia residents do not have Internet access—a prerequisite to being an informed and engaged citizen in the digital age.

Drexel and a broad group of partners are responding to this urgent need through the Freedom Rings Partnership, a multi-year initiative to bring Internet access, training, and technology to residents in underserved communities. Thousands of Philadelphians are expected to benefit from Freedom Rings, which is led by the Urban Affairs Coalition and the City of Philadelphia's Office of Innovation and Technology, in partnership with more than a dozen community-based organizations.

Freedom Rings has targeted more than 100,000 low-income Philadelphians—including children, the unemployed, housing authority residents, and seniors—to receive information about the importance of broadband to their daily lives. The program will provide hands-on training to at least 15,000 people at more than 130 locations citywide, including 77 public computer centers. And it will distribute 5,000 netbooks to public housing residents who complete technology skills training.

In 2011, Drexel graduated more than 100 Philadelphia Housing Authority residents from the Freedom Rings Partnership’s first class. The graduating students went through eight hours of training at the Community College of Philadelphia. After the graduation ceremony, new netbooks were given to the graduates by Drexel students.