TechPak, a partnership between Tech Dump, PCs For People, Literacy Minnesota, Saint Paul Public Library and Ramsey County, brought computers, internet and digital literacy training into the homes of Ramsey County residents who have experienced economic impacts due to COVID-19. Most participants worked closely with a Digital Literacy Navigator who gave individual support with required digital literacy classes. Workforce training, job referrals and other employment resources were offered.
A total of 2,150 TechPaks were awarded to residents from September through December 2020. TechPak distribution was prioritized by residents with the most significant technological barriers and took place through Community Career Labs, and community partners: Ain Dah Yung Center, American Indian Family Center, Face to Face, Hmong American Partnership, JK Movement, Literacy Minnesota, Project Restore MN and Truce Center. Almost 50% of packs were awarded to African American applicants, followed by 25% Caucasian and 9% Asian. Recipients faced barriers due to COVID-19 including job loss and change in household income.
Social Return on Investment
Ecotone Analytics conducted an analysis to identify and measure the impact of the initiative identifying a Social Return on Investment (SROI). An SROI is a metric adapted from the traditional financial Return on Investment (ROI) that is used to measure social, environmental and economic returns of an investment in order to create a more holistic picture of the value being generated.
The projected SROI for the TechPak initiative is $2.40 for every $1 dollar spent. This social value is generated through initiative outcomes:
- Increased earnings from increased employment and promotion.
- Education due to digital skills gained.
Additional monetized outcomes include:
- Increased earnings from connection to job opportunities otherwise not reachable.
- Increased educational attainment – GED and post-secondary.
- Improved school outcomes for children with access to a computer.
The Ramsey County TechPak initiative is a part of the Ramsey County Investment and Support Efforts (RISE) program, which will invested $72 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding in the community by the end of 2020.