BANGOR – To help provide equitable learning access and opportunities and keep local youth connected, UScellular has donated 25 wireless hotspots and two years of service to Penquis Community Action Program as part of its After School Access Project. Currently, more than 40 million people in the United States lack reliable access to high-speed internet. This leads to an issue known as the “homework gap” among youth who lack proper internet access. UScellular’s After School Access Project provides free mobile hotspots and service to nonprofits that support youth after the school day has ended and provides safe internet access for homework and education.
“The success of students in the communities we serve is very important to us at UScellular,” said Tabatha McKay, area vice president/general manager for UScellular in New England. “Connecting people and communities is our mission and the After School Access Project is just one way that we’re helping ensure students have the reliable access they need to grow and pursue their dreams.”
Through the After School Access Project, the company has pledged to donate up to $13 million in hotspots and services to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet in its markets. To date, the company has donated more than 3,800 hotspots, a value of $3.7 million, to its communities through this initiative. Eligible 501c3 nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply by going to http://www.AfterSchoolAccessProject.com.
Penquis Community Action Program serves approximately 200 youth in three distinct programs in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties. The hotspots will be sent home with students and families as well as used in host homes for youth experiencing homelessness. They will be used by youth for educational purposes as well as coordination of resources and community services. In addition, students will utilize the hotspots to access school portals, classroom assignments, and career/technical education.
“These hotspots will address ongoing equity concerns around how to keep students connected outside of the classroom,” said Renae Muscatell, community relations manager for Penquis Community Action Program. “We intend to lend the hotspots to students and families that do not have access to reliable internet in their home environment and we hope to improve youth engagement for those who need it most. Thank you, UScellular for supporting these efforts.”
Hotspots are stand-alone Wi-Fi networks that can connect several devices at once wirelessly and have proven to be a vital tool for youth to access the internet, study, and complete homework. The hotspots provided through After School Access Project connect to UScellular’s network to provide high-speed connectivity for youth throughout August at Capital Kids.
UScellular is focused on addressing gaps in STEM education and is committed to connecting more than 200,000 of tomorrow’s innovators each year with the resources they need today to help shape future opportunities. Since 2009, UScellular has donated nearly $21.4 million along with countless experiences and technology items to nonprofit organizations across the country. For more information about the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, please go to https://newsroom.uscellular.com/community/.
Penquis Community Action Program has a mission is to assist individuals and families in preventing, reducing, or eliminating poverty in their lives and, through partnerships, to engage the community in addressing economic and social needs.
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to elevate the customer experience. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or http://www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com. Connect with UScellular on social media at facebook.com/uscellular, twitter.com/uscellular, instagram.com/uscellular, YouTube.com/uscellularcorp and linkedin.com/company/uscellular.