WeCAN Works is a digital literacy and workforce readiness public/private partnership that provides the means to the underserved, unskilled, and underemployed for sustainable career paths and jobs. As the expanded and targeted effort of the Wireless Empowered Community Access Network (WeCAN), WeCAN Works concentrates on providing digital literacy and other job readiness support services and training to prepare Houstonians for work. To accomplish this, WeCAN Works leverages existing resources and works through strategic partnerships with experts and leaders in the field of education and workforce development, locally, and nationally.
The City of Houston created the Digital Inclusion Initiative, a citywide initiative designed to bridge Houston’s digital divide by making digital literacy and access to technology more accessible in high need communities for Houston’s underserved.
Houston Public Library (HPL) is managing the Digital Inclusion Initiative, as well as providing technological support and digital literacy training to the Community Access Locations (CALs). HPL is also providing locations where classes for GED and digital literacy will be held, and providing information and referrals to customers.
The Digital Inclusion Initiative is administering WeCAN Works and the network it’s built upon. WeCAN CALs, which includes city libraries will provide digital literacy instruction, career seminars, referrals to Workforce Solutions, and perform post-program assessments.
The Microsoft Corporation has awarded the Houston Public Library Foundation with a $4.5 million Microsoft Unlimited Potential grant ($4.3 million in software and $200,000 in cash) in support of Houston’s Digital Inclusion Initiative and the launch of WeCAN Works.
Houston Independent School District will identify at-risk high school students, former students who have dropped out of school, and parents of students who can benefit from the three Tracks of the program. They will identify and assess the students, who then will receive digital literacy instruction, Business Computing Information System coursework instruction, MOS and A+ Certification, internships with local employers, and referrals to higher education or Workforce Solutions for job placement.
Houston Community College will identify and select participants for Track II, offer the ABE/GED coursework, digital literacy and workforce readiness training, administer the GED Certification tests, and refer graduates to Workforce Solutions for additional training, career counseling and job placement.
Workforce Solutions will provide funding for internships, conduct career seminars, and provide counseling and assessment, as well as job placement assistance for all three tracks.
The Greater Houston Partnership will work with the City of Houston and HPL to leverage WeCAN Works as a workforce capacity training model and provide opportunities for participants through member organization for jobs, apprenticeships, training, and mentoring.