Star Tribune features PCs for People and CEO Casey Sorenson

PCs for People has been working with Blandin Broadband Communities, brigning refurbished computers to rural communities, for about 10 years. The days of computer distribution in the communities are often some of the most heart warming stories. So it was fun to see PCs for People and CEO Casey Sorenson featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

When Casey Sorensen was 9, his mother, a secretary at the local high school, saved her pennies for a full year to get the family a computer and “DOS for Dummies” handbook. Her son recalls being “instantly hooked.” He decided he would pursue a degree — and a career — in technology. He’s done that in a big, and unexpected, way. Sorensen is CEO of the St. Paul-based nonprofit PCs for People, which is celebrating 20 years of getting refurbished computers and low-cost internet into homes across the United States. Recently honored with the Charles Benton Digital Champion Award, which recognizes national leadership in advancing digital equity, Sorensen talks about expansion, what he still worries about and how he unplugs.

They talk about the typical computer recipient…

A family of three, living on $14,000 per year. Even in 2018, 60% of our recipients say they have never owned a computer. A staggering 58% report they are unemployed. That is a powerful statistic that shows the importance of a home computer and internet connection, and how we have transformed into a digital society.

And the different a computer can make…

According to the Department of Labor, more than 75% of jobs will require digital skills by next year. This is not just sitting at a computer in an office. Many jobs that were previously manual now require using high tech tools to increase efficiency, accuracy and productivity. Someone without basic technical skills will automatically be less qualified for 75% of jobs. Libraries do a great job of providing the first point of access to technology, but having a home computer allows someone to build digital skills, search for a job and do homework on their own schedule. …

Some individuals are facing homelessness. Having digital access is a vital part of developing job readiness skills to get and maintain a job. They are appreciative of the mobility of their laptops and internet access. While in transition, they can easily bring their technology with them and stay connected.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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