Need internet connection or a computer? Philly’s digital navigators can help

digital navigators lnesc
Laptops that Philadelphians can obtain through the Digital Navigator network. Photo credit: Alonso Zuniga

In January 2021, LNESC Philadelphia became a part of the city’s Digital Navigator network, a group of providers created to help Philadelphians navigate digital services during the coronavirus pandemic.

LNESC stands for LULAC National Education Service Centers (LNESC), which has multiple centers across the country, and is the educational branch of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). LNESC Philadelphia, headquartered in Fishtown, has operated for more than 20 years. Its mission is to empower Hispanic students through education, leadership, and workforce development programming. 

The nonprofit’s partnership with the Digital Navigator network is funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that supports journalism, communities, and the arts. 

“The Digital Navigator program is … citywide, so anybody from any part of the city can call in and take advantage of this resource,” said LNESC Philadelphia Center Director Shane Weller. “We specifically focus on the North Philadelphia Hispanic population because we have bilingual staff to be able to assist with any issue in English or Spanish.” 

Digital navigators can help residents:

  • Sign up for PHLConnectED, the city’s free internet program for students 
  • Apply for and set up low-cost internet 
  • Obtain low-cost or free computers
  • Access basic tech support like troubleshooting internet connection issues 
  • Access referrals to digital literacy training 
  • Connect to resources like government services, jobs, telehealth, and more

LNESC Philadelphia’s digital navigator can also help people apply for public benefits, like SNAP and unemployment, assist college-bound students with filling out applications like the FAFSA, and help undocumented students who aren’t eligible for federal student aid apply for the Community College of Philadelphia’s Octavius Catto Scholarship, Weller said.

LNESC Philadelphia’s helpline is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. To reach the digital navigator, call 267-341-8591 or email lnescdigi@gmail.com

Weller expects the Digital Navigator service to continue at least until the end of 2021, he added. LNESC Philadelphia also offers other programs to North Philadelphia students, like Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program, and WorkReady

“I strongly recommend and encourage the community at large to take advantage of every single resource that is available to them,” Weller said. “These are resources that are for them. They are free resources.”

You can read more about the city’s Digital Navigator network here

You can learn more about LNESC Philadelphia here


Editors: Zari Tarazona, Claire Wolters / Designer: Henry Savage

Kensington Voice is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at brokeinphilly.org or follow on Twitter at @BrokeInPhilly.

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