California Connects wants to help Spanish speakers become computer savvy

By Corey Pride / cpride@losbanosenterprise.comAugust 10, 2012 

Thirty years ago, those who couldn't read were at a severe disadvantage.

In the social media and digital landscape of the present day, the same can largely be said of those who do not know how to use a computer.

A group that teaches Spanish-speaking adults how to use the Internet is interested in partnering with entities in Los Banos to provide free computer classes on the Westside.

Sonia Pulido, a community trainer for California Connects, said there are many parents in the Spanish-speaking community who are not computer literate.

"Some parents don't know how to turn on the computer. You ask them in Spanish if they want to set up an email and they say, 'How do I do that, do I need a credit card?' They have no idea how the Internet works," Pulido said.

California Connects is a federally funded program that exists in 18 counties in California. The organization teaches 15- to 20-hour courses on computer literacy with the help of groups that provide computers and a location for the classes.

Pulido spoke with the Community Resource Council about the program on Wednesday.

"Our goal is to find partnership with (groups) that serve the Spanish-speaking community," Pulido said.

She asked where space can be found for computer courses in Los Banos. Some suggestions included the Los Banos Community Center, the community room at Pacheco Village Apartments and the Los Banos Unified School District.

Pulido said her group also tells its students where they can buy computers for a relatively low price and find a cheap Internet service provider.

"They're willing to learn. By the time they leave my class, they want to open a Facebook, Skype with their family in Mexico, shop online and look for stuff on Craigslist," Pulido said.

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