Each FamilyNet Center is a convenient neighborhood resource designed to help local residents make computers part of their lives. To use the Internet to find a job, write to the local alderman, read the news or perform any other online task, a person must have more than access to a computer. He or she also has to understand how to use digital technology and feel comfortable online. That important distinction is at the heart of the Smart Communities FamilyNet Centers.
Fully integrated with existing Centers for Working Families in one of the five Smart Communities, the FamilyNet Centers invite the public to use state-of-the-art computers and broadband access, and they offer training and assistance designed specifically for community members. All services are free to local residents.
Training and support built for our communities
The Centers for Working Families have a track record of providing services such as employment training and financial counseling, and the FamilyNet Centers will continue that tradition. To become a FamilyNet Center, each location has added new computers, higher broadband speeds and a full-time FamilyNet Center manager. Residents can participate in:
- Drop-in Internet access, including use of three kid-friendly computers and expanded weekday and weekend hours.
- Orientations that give an overview of all FNC programs and an introduction to the services available at the Center for Working Families.
- Everyday Digital, a comprehensive set of trainings that start at the most basic computer tasks up to useful skills like online banking. Topics and methods can be tailored for families, senior citizens, business owners, ex-offenders, community leaders and other local groups.
Open for business
The FamilyNet Centers were first proposed in community meetings when the Smart Communities program was being created in 2009. The centers expect to be used by 5,400 residents, provide 1,300 orientations and serve 1,600 residents with Everyday Digital courses.
To learn more about FamilyNet Centers, contact LISC/Chicago. Each FamilyNet Center is operated by a local nonprofit and housed within a Center for Working Families. To learn more about a neighborhood center, contact the community's FamilyNet Center manager.