ST. LOUIS, Sept. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) has teamed up with AT&T, Connected Nation, Dell Technologies, and Intel to bridge the Digital Divide among youth in foster care by enabling greater internet access. Through the K-12 Digital Divide Program, Centene and the other groups donated more than 1,000 laptops and 2,200 hotspots to foster care agencies in Florida and Missouri.
The Digital Divide refers to the economic, educational, and social inequalities between those with internet access and those without. The K-12 Digital Divide Program is an initiative aimed at providing foster youth with much-needed hardware to access the internet for schoolwork, telehealth, behavioral health services, online tutoring, job searches, and other daily activities. For foster children who may experience additional challenges in education, researchers suggest that online technology can be a tremendous advantage in this area. The Digital Divide has been acute during the COVID-19 pandemic, as computers and internet access have been required for everyday tasks from attending school to visiting the doctor, which could ultimately impact the youth's overall health and wellness.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of reliable access to the internet due to the shift to remote learning," said Brent Layton, President and Chief Operating Officer for Centene. "We believe that by providing children in foster care communities with reliable access to proper equipment and the internet, we can help to bridge the Digital Divide."
With this initiative, Centene, AT&T, Connected Nation, Dell Technologies, and Intel have deployed the Dell Chromebooks and Wi-Fi-enabled hotspots to foster care agencies. The foster care agencies will then identify youth who have the greatest need to receive the devices. The computers include access to online productivity applications and communications tools, allowing the youth to use them for school and also telehealth visits if needed.
"In a world that's increasingly reliant on technology, connectivity is one of the most important tools for advancing the education of students everywhere," said Mylayna Albright, AVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, AT&T. "This program brings together major players in the health and technology industries to ensure foster youth can access important digital resources that address physical, mental and emotional wellbeing."
"This program addresses a critical need for children who are already facing unique challenges and difficulties," said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. "By providing youth who are in foster care with the tools they need to take part in our increasingly digital world, we are not only giving them the access to resources that will help them grow in a positive way and flourish, but we are saying to these children that we care about and want to help them excel."
"We believe that technology has the ability to transform communities. While the pandemic resulted in a new, virtual way of living, it dramatically increased the disparity between those with access and those without," said Jessica Anderson, Director of Strategic Giving, Dell Technologies. "The K-12 Digital Divide Program helps provide equitable access to participating foster families, giving them some of the resources they need for school, healthcare and work."
"As part of Intel's RISE 2030 goals, our company aims to make technology fully inclusive and expand digital readiness. This project aligned perfectly with our Intel Rise Technology Initiative, where we review and fund projects related to healthcare, education and the economy with dedicated workstreams for social equity and human rights, accessibility, and climate action," said Rick Echevarria, VP and GM of Intel's Enterprise Sales Solutions. "At a basic level, we can only address the Digital Divide in education by first ensuring students have the necessary technology resources and tools to succeed. It is only by working with others that we can find innovative solutions to this persistent issue."
About Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 25 company, is a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise that is committed to helping people live healthier lives. The Company takes a local approach – with local brands and local teams – to provide fully integrated, high-quality, and cost-effective services to government-sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Centene offers affordable and high-quality products to nearly 1 in 15 individuals across the nation, including Medicaid and Medicare members (including Medicare Prescription Drug Plans) as well as individuals and families served by the Health Insurance Marketplace, the TRICARE program, and individuals in correctional facilities. The Company also serves several international markets, and contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide a variety of specialty services focused on treating the whole person. Centene focuses on long-term growth and the development of its people, systems and capabilities so that it can better serve its members, providers, local communities, and government partners.
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SOURCE Centene Corporation