One-Third of Rhode Island Adults Don’t Use Computers, Internet

by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter

On any given day the computer rooms at the Cranston Library are packed – not with kids – but with adults, trying to learn, and more

“Looking for a job,” said library computer user Peggy Derrick.

Derrick has been coming here for two years, taking computer and Internet classes.

She says, “At 60 years old it's very difficult sometimes to learn the new technology that's out there, and it can be very frustrating.”

A new report from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation says that 29 percent of adults in the Ocean State have little or no computer skills.

But the EDC's “Broadband Rhode Island” program is out to change that by offering classes at many libraries.

Ed Garcia, Director of the Cranston Library said, “So we have classes on Microsoft Office, Facebook, Twitter; online job searching. Those are pretty full as well. So we have a pretty wide range of classes we are offering here.”

ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis said, “And with Rhode Island's unemployment rate still hovering near 10 percent, adult computer skills are scene as essential.”

Some adults believe they are too old for high tech. “False! You can always teach and old dog new tricks, you just have to be patient,” said Jenna Marie Tedesco, who owns in Pawtucket.

New companies are popping up in Rhode Island to help reluctant adults learn computer and Internet skills; they will need to stay employed.

Jenna Tedesco of said, “If you don't have a resume current online, it's so much more difficult to obtain a position. Most employers are seeking people online now.”

While almost 30 percent of Rhode Island adults now lack those skills, many say they're willing to learn.