Get help with your devices and find training to build digital skills
Getting Help with Your Computer
The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago offers bilingual in-person computer support labs to provide free I.T. help and training for Chicago residents. Residents can go in person to one of the three locations hosting the labs (Kelly Hall YMCA, Rauner Family YMCA, and South Side YMCA) or can call the help desk number (312-440-2416).
Growing Your Technology and Computer Skills
Through the Chicago Connected initiative, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) offers:
- Free online trainings led by experts from organizations in Chicago communities.
- Free self-guided trainings focused on building basic computer skills.
- Technical support to solve issues related to devices, connectivity, and computer-related questions.
Check out the website to view scheduling for online training, a listing of the self-guided trainings, and information about using the technical support.
Digital skills courses are also available from the Chicago Public Library here.
At the national level, the Public Library Association (PLA) is coordinating digital literacy workshops in 160 libraries across the country with more than $1 million in contributions from AT&T.
The workshops are part of the PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, which is aimed at helping libraries generally with boosting digital skills in their communities. At the center of these workshops are online digital literacy courses that the PLA has developed in collaboration with AT&T and are available to anyone through DigitalLearn.org. The subject matter for these courses covers foundational digital literacy elements, from the basics of using new technologies to how best to avoid getting scammed online.
Learn about programs for receiving free or discounted Internet service
If you are or have a family member enrolled as a student at a Chicago Public School or at City Colleges of Chicago, you might qualify for either high-speed internet or a district-provided hotspot at no cost through the Chicago Connected program.
If your household income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line, or if you or someone you live with receives a government benefit like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, WIC, Pell Grant, or Free and Reduced Price Lunch, you might be eligible to enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Eligible participants could receive discounts on Internet services and subsidies for buying digital devices, including computers and tablets.
Explore options for obtaining affordable devices that you can use to connect to the Internet
Obtaining Free or Low-Cost Devices
Compudopt gives away free refurbished computers to community members who do not have access to a computer at home. To qualify for a computer, you must not own a working computer at home and you must have a child in K-12 education in the Chicago, Northern Illinois, or St. Clair area.
If you have an old computer that you are no longer using, consider donating it to Compudopt.
PCs for People also provides affordable options for purchasing digital devices. They recycle and refurbish computers donated to the organization, keeping them out of landfills and repurposing them to advance digital inclusion.
Chicago residents have access to public computers at Chicago Public Library locations. You can reserve a computer for up to two hours at any library.