Bridging the Digital Divide: County of Santa Clara Partners with Nonprofits to Help Older Adults Go Online

The no-cost program aims to equip 2,000 older adults in Santa Clara County with the hardware and the knowledge to access myriad services available online

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. – Digital opportunities are knocking: The County of Santa Clara has partnered with five nonprofit groups and community organizations to offer older adults a chance to equip themselves with the hardware, the knowledge, and the support to confidently access the Internet and its wealth of services, all for free.
The road to computer literacy can be a daunting one, especially for older adults who have not familiarized themselves with the latest benefits that technology has to offer – it is estimated that a quarter of people 65 and older still do not use the Internet.
The no-cost Access to Technology program aims to reach this part of the population, providing digital literacy training in multiple languages, devices if needed, and assistance in enrolling in the Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides free at-home internet service for eligible households. It’s being paid for by a $2.1 million state grant, and the County has a goal of using it to help up to 2,000 older adults between now and the program’s expiration date in September 2024.
“This is an important program that assists eligible, older adults who need to be connected to doctors, family, and friends in our complex and growing digital environment,” said Santa Clara County Board President Susan Ellenberg. “Expanding this opportunity to older adults who currently may lack the hardware, connectivity, and understanding of how to use such services is an equitable way to minimize the digital divide.”
This packaged toolkit aims to bridge what’s called a “digital divide” – a gap in the know-how that has become more and more essential to participating in basic activities. That includes:

  • Social and Civic Activities: Stay connected to family, friends, and the community; participate in social media; engage with local government.
  • Activities of Daily Life: Paying bills, managing accounts, shopping, communicating with health care providers, online learning, and entertainment options.
  • Information Access: Learn about events in the community, keep up with news, avoid scams and frauds, and find reliable health information.

Having the means to access this kind of engagement became increasingly important through the pandemic, and now many services are tailored to best serve the community from an online platform. By partnering with local organizations, the County of Santa Clara aims to help those older adults who lack either the physical tools or the knowledge to go online.
Adults aged 60 and older and those with disabilities are encouraged to contact the County’s partner organizations for more information and access to services offered. More information is available at
Participating providers
450 Bryant St., Palo Alto
(650) 289-5400
Programs and Services: Devices, At-home Internet Service, One-on-one Support
Languages: English, Mandarin, Cantonese
Catholic Charities
2150 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose
(408) 391-5627
Programs and Services: Devices, At-home Internet Service, Education and Training, One-on-one Support
Languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese
Korean American Community Services
136 Burton Ave., San Jose
(408) 920-9733
Programs and Services: Devices, At-home Internet Service, Education and Training, One-on-one Support
Languages: English, Korean
1115 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
(408) 293-0877
Programs and Services: Devices, At-home Internet Service, Education and Training
Languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish
Senior Planet from AARP
Programs and Services: Education and Training, Technical Support
Languages: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multicultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, Calif., making it more populous than 14 states in the United States. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.
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