(Photos Above: Laptops wait for delivery to a new group of participants who will use them in Climb’s Medical Careers training in the Teton Area. Climb Wyoming participants and staff connect via Zoom video technology for training.)
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the world paused, and Sheena, like many of us, found herself anxious of the unknown. One of the biggest unknowns for her: how to work and find support from the isolation of home.
The anxiety is amplified for families living in poverty as many don’t have internet access or computers.
Climb staff realized early on the importance technology would have in helping struggling families connect during the pandemic while also continuing career trainings in progress.
Sheena, who graduated from Climb four years ago, reached out to Climb for support because her dream job working as a peer specialist for a substance abuse treatment program had shifted online, and she felt unprepared to make the change.
Climb staff helped Sheena obtain a laptop and look into computer classes at Laramie County Community College. Today, her job is going well, she’s working remotely from home, and will pursue additional technology training.
Several Climb programs also shifted online when the pandemic put a halt to being together in person. Staff pivoted quickly to ensure participants had computers and internet access in order to meet regularly as a group and individually with trainers and mental health providers.
Mock interviews have also moved online, allowing moms to practice for job interviews with interviewers located at many different locations. The technology even supports virtual “breakout rooms” so that a mom can move into a separate video session with staff or therapists during meetings.
As the pandemic continues to take more and more of our lives online, Climb’s ability to innovate and adapt means that families working hard to lift themselves out of poverty don’t lose momentum. Access to technology is giving them the tools they need to stay connected, support each other, and take their first steps toward a new future.