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Community Action partners with Wilberforce University to enhance distance learning access


WILBERFORCE – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies partnered with Wilberforce University to provide much-needed technology to support students’ remote learning. The pilot project will allow 100 eligible students, who have been impacted by the pandemic, access to a personal laptop enabling them to continue their studies through distance learning.

“When the pandemic hit earlier this year, many of us were thrust into working or studying offsite,” said Philip E. Cole, executive director of OACAA. “We saw a need and are happy to fill that need to better equip students and help maintain their path to graduation.”

Thanks to the partnership, the selected number of enrolled Wilberforce University students will receive new laptops to use for their studies during and beyond the school’s remote learning protocol. The students will be selected automatically based on eligibility criteria.

“OACAA is an ideal partner in Wilberforce’s endeavor to address the Digital Divide,” said Dr. Tashia Bradley, executive vice president and chief innovation officer at Wilberforce University. “Black communities have been grappling with gaps in accessing devices and Wi-Fi. These are the types of gifts that help reduce that gap and help support the university’s commitment to ensuring student success. We are appreciative of OACAA for partnering with us to address this issue.”

In addition to the computers, students will have access to preloaded Apportis software that supports access to mental health resources for the remainder of the school year. The resources and content will be available without connecting to a local Wi-Fi network. Similar partnerships between OACAA and local colleges and universities are expected to be developed following this pilot project’s successful roll-out.


Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. Community Action Agencies work to alleviate poverty and empower low-income families in their communities. The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies represents 47 agencies around the state serving the needs of low-income people in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. CAAs provide education and training, emergency services, and other assistance programs to nearly 600,000 Ohioans annually.

Founded in 1856, Wilberforce University is the nation’s first, private historically black college (HBCU). Located in Greene County, Ohio, near Dayton, the four-year, accredited liberal arts college is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Ohio LINK Library Consortium, and the NAIA athletic conference. According to, Wilberforce is rated as one of the top five HBCUs in the Midwest.

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