The headline reads, “2 out of 3 Clevelanders are functionally illiterate…”

Yes, let that sink in –  66% of Cleveland’s population is functionally illiterate. That’s exactly what Freshwater Cleveland reported in November of 2018.

What does it mean to be functionally illiterate? According to, if someone is functionally illiterate, they have “some basic education, but still fall short of a minimum standard of literacy or whose reading and writing skills are inadequate to everyday needs.”  In “real life” this means that a person may have a basic grasp of the alphabet, but is unable to fill out a job application, read signs, or follow a recipe.

Another fun fact: In Cleveland, more than a 1/3 of the city’s residents do not have access to the Internet in any form, and as many as 1/2 the city’s residents have no fixed wired home internet access. Cleveland is the 3rd least connected city in the country.

Think about how you use the internet at home. Most of us are so dependent on our home internet that we’d have to drastically change our lifestyles if we were forced to go without. Smart Home technology, streaming Netflix, and ordering food for home delivery are just a few examples of things I depend on.

Working with a population with such grim statistics has its challenges. However, DigitalC is “Connecting the Unconnected” and is determined to drive the adoption of technology through innovation, so that all members of our community are connected and can learn to reap the benefits the internet has to offer.

Programs like Digital Literacy training, Recipe Re-Mix Ohio, and Providers (was Fresh EBT,  provide an opportunity for DigitalC to help bridge the divide for the newly connected.

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