This article originally appeared on the eBay Inc. blog.
Computer literacy is essential to succeed in today’s tech-enabled workforce, but not everyone has access to a computer. 44 percent of Americans who make less than $30,000 do not own a desktop or laptop computer, meaning many of those who are in most need of computer skills have the fewest resources to develop them. This digital divide has the potential to hinder the success of students everywhere.
Chris Ko, co-founder and CEO of Revive IT and long-time member of eBay Small Business Ambassador Network, has made bridging this divide his company’s mission. Based in Mesa, Arizona, Revive IT refurbishes high-quality computers discarded by large businesses and sells them on eBay. With a focus on making a positive impact on their local community, Revive IT is able to sell computers and other devices to schools and small business that might not otherwise be able to afford such large-scale access to technology.
At New World Educational Center, a Phoenix-based charter school, about 80% of students are on free or reduced lunch. Revive IT helped the school to provide students with laptops and wireless internet, which has opened new doors.
“Because of Revive IT, we were able to create a STEM program that helped students see that a laptop can be a tool for things other than playing video games or word processing, but also for programming robotics kits and creating web pages,” said Jesus Armenta, principal of New World Educational Center. “We would hope that some of them fall in love with using technology.”
Revive IT’s work helps students access the tools they need to succeed, regardless of their school’s financial resources. “It would be really hard for me to imagine what it would be like if my kids, grandkids or friends went to school without technology,” Chris said. “Bridging that gap is creating a level playing field.”
Chris sees eBay as an integral partner in Revive IT’s growth. “eBay gave us an opportunity that no other platform would have,” he said.
Watch the original video here.