In the city of Pittsburgh, 10% of households do not have computers. This number is magnified when looking at households by race and income level. Those who have historically been left behind are the ones most in need of access to hardware.
Pittsburgh Public schools reported a shortage of 7,000 computers as students transitioned to online learning in April of 2020. Not only does a lack of hardware, such as a laptop, inhibit online learning facilitated by schools, but also prevents independent learning or digital skill building.
Even households with broadband access and a computer face challenges with the scaling up to meet digital needs. As more and more services go online, the solution to hardware access must be sustainable and equitable for the long term.
Bridging the hardware access divide requires comprehensive programming that targets laptop and other hardware distribution. This type of effort is only possible through collaboration across numerous partners such as donors, computer refurbishers, distribution sites, volunteers, and more.
Read more one how Allegheny County scores on hardware access, what Beyond the Laptops has achieved so far, and what more needs to be done.