Established by a group of former teachers 17 years ago, Career Compass of Louisiana is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has helped more than 125,000 students figure out how to get from high school graduation to “what’s next”. Not only does the educational nonprofit work one-on-one with graduating seniors to match their passions to their abilities, but Career Compass is eliminating the barriers that often get in the way of students’ plans.
“So many of our students face obstacles that can keep them from pursuing a post-secondary education or job training,” explained Julie Scott, executive director at Career Compass. One of the biggest obstacles, especially in Louisiana’s rural school districts, is the lack of high-speed Internet access.
Like elsewhere in the country, lack of reliable Internet service is a hindrance to students in rural Louisiana. According to a study by Satellite Internet, 11.80% of the state’s population under 18 does not have a computer and broadband subscription.
By using hotspots for schools from Mobile Citizen, the nonprofit’s college and career coaches bridge gaps in Internet access, helping hopeful graduates research training opportunities, navigate college admissions, and submit application fees online.
While the state of Louisiana has made progress in education, according to Career Compass, “it will not only have to maintain current rates of graduation but also significantly increase the number of people who enroll in programs and earn all types of credentials beyond high school.” Currently, less than half of adults in Louisiana possess post-secondary education.
Career Compass is working with schools to increase the percentage of students who continue their studies after high school, but inadequate Internet connectivity poses a serious challenge in some of the school districts.
Students without a reliable high-speed Internet connection face a huge hurdle in accessing vital college and career planning resources that most high school seniors around the country simply take for granted.
Over half the parishes in Louisiana are considered rural. “Students are expected to do just about everything online today, including college forms, FAFSA paperwork and job applications,” said Scott, “yet many of the high schools we work in have no reliable Internet access.”
When so many important activities depend on the Internet, it is easy to see how a lack of reliable Internet access can have far-reaching consequences for students and their communities. From exploring career options to connecting with peers and mentors, Internet access is essential.
A large percentage of students don’t have Internet access at home either. While a lack of infrastructure in rural areas is partially to blame, a report from EducationSuperHighway, found that 65% of people surveyed in the state listed affordability as the main obstacle to accessing the Internet.
According to ConnectLA, a broadband resource team within Louisiana’s Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity, many Louisiana families simply can’t afford monthly Internet charges. The organization states that, “43.6% of people or households do not have access to a low cost, high-speed internet subscription for their homes.”
Guided by their mission to ensure that every student has a pathway to a rewarding career, Career Compass leaders made it their goal to bridge the digital divide at the rural high school campuses they serve. By equipping their coaches with mobile hotspot devices from Mobile Citizen, the nonprofit can help students get online whether the high school has Internet service or not.
Now 40 of Career Compass’ 107 coaches use Mobile Citizen Wi-Fi hotspots in their daily work to help students gain access to the Internet.
“The mobile hotspots serve as valuable tools for high school seniors, giving them the ability to access college and career planning tools that they might not be able to access at school or home otherwise,” Scott explained. “Mobile Citizen hotspots have drastically changed the effectiveness of our coaching in rural districts. Moving forward, we will continue to use the hotspots in areas that do not have reliable Internet services, and we will add more hotspots as we increase our reach in Louisiana. All students deserve to have access to post-secondary education and training. Together, Mobile Citizen and Career Compass are helping students reach their goals.”
According to Scott, Career Compass chose Mobile Citizen for a few key reasons: excellent customer service, reliable technology, and affordable pricing. “First, Mobile Citizen recognizes the importance of efficiency and goes above and beyond. The turnaround time from requesting a hotspot to the hotspot being in a coach’s hands is around one week. Second, the internet service is reliable, so our coaches know they can always get online wherever they are. Finally, Mobile Citizen works exclusively with nonprofits, so they provide very reasonable prices for the hotspots and mobile service,” said Scott. “It’s a win-win for Career Compass.”
Mobile Hotspots for Nonprofits, Schools, Libraries, and Social Welfare Agencies
Mobile Citizen offers high-speed affordable wireless Internet with unlimited data to schools, libraries, nonprofits, and social welfare agencies throughout the U.S. To discuss nonprofit hotspot opportunities for your organization, please contact our experts in the Mobile Citizen Customer Service Center at 877-216-9603.