As Assistant Director of Workforce and Economic Inclusion at Drexel University’s Dornsife Center, Maria Allison, has an appreciation for the opportunities the Dornsife KEYSPOT provides its’ patrons. “Honestly, I’m still floored every day that we [people with digital skills and access] take things like computers and access to the internet for granted. Giving people access and allowing them to plug-in really changes people’s lives.” Drexel has been offering residents of West Philadelphia computer access since 2004. In addition to 30 hours a week of open access time for community members to use the computers, Dornsife offers basic computer training once a week. This training includes teaching patrons how to use a mouse, how to turn on a computer, how to type and more.
Dornsife KEYSPOT is unique because it is located on Drexel University’s campus. This allows staff and student volunteers to connect in a real way with the neighborhood and community. The consistent interaction between students, staff and community members helps create opportunities for people. Brenda Lewis, KEYSPOT Lab Assistant, described how her time as a KEYSPOT patron turned into a job opportunity, “I was coming here to work on my projects and I came so often that I was asked to help out in the lab.” Lewis said, “This eventually turned in to a position as Lab Assistant.”
In addition to Brenda, the Dornsife KEYSPOT is staffed by other amazing and dedicated individuals. Kevin Williams, the Technology Coordinator, is another staff member that is dedicated to the KEYSPOT mission. He is currently working with Drexel University students to put together electronic and phone surveys to follow-up with KEYSPOT patrons and check their progress and happiness with the services that Dornsife center offers. Kevin says, “We have over 10,000 patrons in our database that have used this KEYSPOT in the last three years and we just want to reach out to them and let them know we still exist and get some feedback from them.” He said, “We love to hear success stories.”
Courtney Claiborne, HR Community Engagement Partner, also holds a very important role with the Dornsife KEYSPOT. She comes in several times a week to provide resume help, job search assistance as well as workforce development, “I go through a process where I show them [KEYSPOT patrons] how to go online and search for a job. You can no longer walk into a business and speak directly with the hiring manager because they will direct you back to the internet,” Claiborne said. “90% of the people I interact with need help with their resume.”
The Dornsife KEYSPOT continues to be a safe space where members of the community can come for help with virtually anything that requires access to the internet. This KEYSPOT is making a difference by offering its patrons the opportunity to build their network by connecting them with student volunteers and other dedicated lab staff. Dornsife is also, helping patrons develop professionally through offering computer basics classes and resume workshops.
Mondays—12pm to 5:00pm
Wednesdays—12pm to 7pm
Tuesday & Thursdays—12pm to 7pm
Fridays—1pm to 4:30pm
*Please note that Dornsife Center is closed during all major holidays and the KEYSPOT is closed at 4pm every 1st Tuesday of each month.