Comcast has announced it is expanding its partnership with The Arc of the United States to foster digital and advocacy skills in people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. The expansion comes in the form of Comcast providing two new national grants to The Arc US totaling $710,000, which includes $22,000 for The Arc Lane County.
The funding will allow The Arc US to establish more Tech Coaching Centers at chapters across the country, including one at The Arc Lane County. These programs have already helped over 3,500 people with IDD develop more independence, equity, and opportunities for their future.
“The Arc Lane County has helped more than 100 people in our community learn the important role that technology plays in everyday life,” said Devin Duerst, director of employment services at The Arc Lane County. “This grant will help individuals with IDD and their families link to the resources, knowledge, and tools to utilize and keep up with the constant changes around technology and how it is used in everyone’s daily life. Our partnership with Comcast has made a tremendous impact in enhancing the self-determination and growing the independence of people who experience IDD.”
A first grant of $560,000, will support The Arc US’ Tech Coaching Centers at 10 locations across the country. It will also expand the training model to include caregivers and family members of people with IDD to ensure they can support in the implementation of technology across all environments, including assistive technology.
With technology being an increasingly vital part of navigating and participating in today’s plugged-in world, including transportation, employment, recreation and social interaction, people with IDD face unique barriers to understanding and adopting digital tools, which is exacerbated by a higher rate of poverty and lower overall income. Since 2014, Comcast has supported The Arc US’ Tech Coaching Center, reaching nearly 2,500 people with IDD through 19 chapters and giving them access to devices, services, and training that advance measured outcomes in employment, health, independent living, education, and interpersonal connections.
“We know that digital skills training can open new doors to opportunity and help people living with disabilities gain independence,” said Dalila Wilson-Scott, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation. “That’s why we are proud to continue our long-standing partnership with The Arc US to reach even more people with IDD – including their caregivers and families — and to create pathways that can help enrich their lives.”
A second grant of $150,000 will go towards advancing efforts to help marginalized communities better advocate for their education. This investment will allow The Arc US to fully translate the curriculum into Spanish to better meet this population’s needs and increase access to the content.
Academic achievement and graduation rates for students with disabilities lag far behind their peers, trends marked by inordinate discrimination, suspensions, and isolation within school settings across the country. In 2016, The Arc US created The Arc@School, an evidence-based, self-paced online training program designed to help families, educators, and advocates navigate the special education system. Since 2021, Comcast has partnered with The Arc US to connect underserved communities to these educational advocacy resources. To date, more than 500 families of color and low-income households have been given free access to The Arc@School, in addition to a facilitation guide, Spanish language overview of the special education process, and cultural competency resources and sections.
These grants were distributed through Project UP, Comcast’s $1 billion commitment to reach tens of millions of people in order to advance digital equity and help create a future of unlimited possibilities.
About The Arc Lane County: The Arc Lane County, a grassroots nonprofit, provides services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families living in Lane County. The Arc envisions a world in which all persons have the support they need for personal development, independence, and interdependence with family and friends, and inclusion in the community. Visit www.thearclane.org to learn more. Editor’s Note: The Arc is not an acronym; always refer to us as The Arc, not The ARC and never ARC. The Arc should be considered as a title or a phrase.