“SJSU students are getting a lesson in entrepreneurship by alumnus Shaun Tai. Tai is the Founder and Executive Director of Oakland Digital, an award-winning non-profit community building organization. Oakland Digital bridges three gaps: Digital Literacy, Opportunity and Tech Inclusion. It’s been operating since 2009 and just recently, received a grant from Google.org to build an app called BRIDGEGOOD.”
Alumnus Shaun Tai carries tremendous inspiration and passion for community, technology and design. As the founder and executive director of an award-winning non-profit community building organization, Shaun will teach you effective methods to be a strong voice and advocate in your community. You’ll discover how to make an impact by strengthening your leadership and inspiring change!
Spartan Voices is a Spartan Success Series event, hosted by the Student Alumni Association: www.sjsualumni.com/sss.
Oakland Digital Awarded Multiyear Grant from Google.org: Attendees included the City of Oakland, Golden State Warriors, NewCo and Twitter
Oakland, CA, October 12, 2015 — Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center (Oakland Digital), a not-for-profit design studio for good working to bridge the digital literacy and opportunity divide, received news that Google.org, the charitable arm of Google, will award the nonprofit with a multiyear grant. The funds will build and deploy BRIDGEGOOD, a web-based hiring platform that connects community college designers with real-world job opportunities in the fields of tech and business, while Oakland Digital’s seven-year track record provides the trust and guidance for success.
Oakland Digital Executive Director Shaun Tai considers BRIDGEGOOD an “absolute game changer.” BRIDGEGOOD answers the “What’s Next?” question that faces 8 million students attending community college: freelance for income, schedule flexibility, and a trajectory of career-oriented jobs,” he stated to stakeholders Thursday. “We are seeking three additional funding partners to raise an additional $100K per year.”
In collaboration with Google.org, BRIDGEGOOD will successfully complete proof of concept and effectively scale Oakland Digital’s mission, vision and, community impact. The beta launch date is March 2016, and aims to enroll 2,000 active design students by the end of 2018 while encouraging at least one of three pathways: 1) entry-level role in tech, 2) higher education earning a Bachelor’s Degree, or 3) earning a living wage as an independent contractor with meaning and purpose.
About Google.org: Thousands of Googlers call the Bay Area home, and since 2010 we’ve given more than $100 million to local nonprofit projects. We look for opportunities to increase social impact in our communities, particularly around the challenges of income inequality and housing displacement.
About Oakland Digital Arts and Literacy Center: Launched in 2009, Oakland Digital is an award-winning, not-for-profit digital marketing agency that trains design students to create social media marketing campaigns for under-resourced women-owned small businesses. Oakland Digital’s programs (INSPIRE, DIGITAL EQUITY, and TECH INCLUSION) have boosted the local economy by $3.2 million and have directly impacted the lives of over 4,000 under resourced Oakland and East Bay entrepreneurs.
To schedule a meeting with Oakland Digital to discuss BRIDGEGOOD, contact Executive Director Shaun Tai, email@example.com, 510-435-2945.
“Isee the future of the East Bay, breaking the mold, breaking this idea that everything has to be done a certain way. The biggest source of inspiration for us, and talent, are the students that make up the local community colleges… get those young people to be successful, to give back to communities through companies they create,” says Oakland Digital Executive Director Shaun Tai.
ARTICLE – Education: Private sector initiatives which pioneer innovative connections between the world of work and the world of learning to develop.
Shaun Tai, executive director of the Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center, compares the challenges of being an entrepreneur to his first ascent of Mt. Diablo as a new bike rider. “Everything in business seems easy after riding 44 miles and climbing 4,000 feet in elevation,” laughs Tai.
Tai, whose mother had a small business in Oakland, grew up there and graduated from California State University East Bay in 2009. He founded the nonprofit Oakland Digital in Oakland’s Chinatown to bridge the digital literacy and opportunity divide. In the process, Oakland Digital is also bringing together the generations and entrepreneurs that reflect the city’s diversity.
“In the 21st century, a small business’ ability to use social media and online technology tools is absolutely necessary to their survival,” says Tai. Many small business owners need to learn how to put digital technology to use, says Tai, and students need the experience of building a resume to find jobs in the East Bay’s growing tech sector.
The award-winning digital marketing agency trains young talent to create social marketing campaigns for under-resourced small businesses, while preparing them to connect to the jobs pipeline. Students learn career-related skills, have their resume and design portfolio reviewed by tech professionals and receive paid internships.
Download the East Bay Innovation Awards magazine: http://www.eastbayeda.org/ebeda-assets/reports/2015/2015EB_InnovationAwards_Insert.pdf.
A Resilient Oakland: How Struggle Inspired Opportunity
Story by Shaun Tai, Written by Shaun Tai and Jennifer Warren
In Dec 2010, my mother Jane Tai was managing her Oakland small business when she was robbed by two young men at gunpoint. She wasn’t physically hurt, but the event compounded problems she was already experiencing. In addition to being a victim of crime, my mom found it difficult to reach new customers outside her generation. Owner of a furniture design studio at 26th and Broadway—her family business of 46 years—she had been left behind by the digital revolution, like many local businesses.
There were two serious issues at hand: Youth in Oakland lacked professional opportunities, and small businesses faced extinction due to unique challenges caused by the increasingly digital economy. Inspired to discover a solution, I envisioned connecting overlooked community college students to business owners like my mom, who were in need of graphic design and social marketing.
Others supported the same vision of collaboration and change for Oakland. Together, we channeled our relentless passion for design and technology into Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center, a community-driven digital marketing agency and nonprofit. The cause to educate, inspire, and empower underserved communities to succeed in the digital economy has snowballed into an organic growing movement. This year we are in the first phase of launching BRIDGEGOOD, an online marketplace that will scale and sustain the vision set forth by Oakland Digital.
Join us to improve the lives of small businesses and students nationwide — visit OaklandDigital.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 510-435-2945.
Oakland Digital Kicks Up Efforts to Bridge The Digital Literacy Divide. Takes Leadership Role in Nationwide Campaign, “ItsEasierThanYouThink”. Urges Digital Citizens to Sign Obama Administration Petition.
The United States faces a Digital Literacy education and skills gap that leaves over 60 Million Americans from utilizing the Internet in their daily lives. Oakland Digital, along with coorganizers launch Awareness and Petition Campaign Designed to Improve Digital Literacy Skills in the U.S. – from Students to Small Businesses.
OAKLAND, CALIF. August 30, 2013 – Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center (Oakland Digital), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization delivering volunteer-based classes and on-site labs for young adults and local businesses, today announced, in concert with TRAIL and other campaign partners, the launch of a national campaign and White House targeted petition designed to raise awareness, and reduce the plight of millions of Americans disconnected from the digital economy.
Oakland Digital, formed in 2009, serves as a successful community supported model working with local governments and technology leaders to bridge the digital literacy divide.
“Nearly 25,000 new Oakland businesses were launched in 2012. In every case digital technologies offered significant value”, says Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. “Unfortunately, not all are proficient or have the know-how to harness its application. On-the-ground Digital Literacy programs led by Oakland Digital, and their work within the small business community plays a vital role in providing the boost individuals need to bridge the gap.”
The United States faces a digital divide, a skills gap that prevents over 60 million Americans from utilizing the Internet in their daily lives. 1 in 5 Americans say they do not know enough about technology to start using the Internet on their own. Online skills are not only necessary for seeking, applying for and getting today’s jobs, but also to take advantage of the growing educational, civic and health-care advances spurred by broadband.
“ItsEasierThanYouThink,” a new national digital literacy awareness campaign, officially kicks off Monday, September 2, 2013 with a White House petition and several public service announcement (PSA) videos addressing the education factors that contribute to the online education and skills gap in America.
The Goals of the “ItsEasierThanYouThink” Digital Literacy Campaign:
- Raise awareness with the public about the issue of digital literacy;
- Urge the Obama Administration to adopt a national digital literacy policy;
- Empower non-Internet users with the tools they need to get online; and
- Providing the online community with resources to take action on this important issue
“Most of us in the tech world take the ability to open a browser, conduct a search, or make a post on a social network, for granted”, says Shaun Tai, Executive Director of Oakland Digital. “But to some, it’s a fear right up there with public speaking. The digitally underserved require the tools and assistance needed to become active participants in the information economy.”
Oakland Digital has played an integral role in advancing the importance of digital literacy by hosting community discussions, educational programs, and hands-on classes for small business owners and students in the San Francisco Bay Area. To date, the center has empowered over 2,200 digital citizens.
“Becoming a digital citizen has meant the world to me,” says Tonya McKinnis, owner of Blacky’s Haircare in East Oakland, CA. “Through working with Oakland Digital’s Digital Equity 2013 program, I’m now inspired about my business online and my future.”
Your Voice Matters – Get Involved:
Sign and circulate the White House Petition to adopt a national #DigitalLiteracy policy with your friends and constituents by visiting http://www.itseasierthanyouthink.org/.
Digital Literacy Awareness Campaign
Digital Literacy Facts & Figures:
- 60 MILLION AMERICANS do not know how to use the Internet. This figure is surpasses over 5 billion people worldwide who cannot participate in our information economy.
- THE US RANKS 7TH when it comes to Internet adoption worldwide. We are the world’s largest economy, and we are not the leader when it comes to Internet adoption.
- OVER 80 PERCENT of Fortune 500 companies require that applicants submit job applications online. This means the largest companies in the United States require digital literacy skills.
- ONLY 57 PERCENT of African-American households use the Internet compared to 67% of White American households according to the Department of Commerce.
- SLIGHTLY OVER HALF of Americans ages 65 and older use the Internet. They are missing out on critical services and opportunities.
- 27 BILLION DOLLARS in economic opportunity could lie ahead if we work to get the world’s population online and using the Internet.
- 1 IN 5 AMERICANS say they don’t know enough about technology to start using the Internet on their own. They have no one to teach them how to get online.
- ONLY 43 PERCENT of those without a high school education are online and only sixty-two percent of those who make less than $30,000/year are online.
- DIGITAL LITERACY IS a gate skill, demanded by many employers when they first evaluate a job application. It is also a catalyst for many other important life skills.
About The Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center
The Oakland Digital Arts & Literacy Center (Oakland Digital), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, working to increase digital literacy among local design students, small business owners and entrepreneurs. The center provides hands-on educational classes free of charge to the community. For small businesses physically located in Oakland, Oakland Digital holds a three-month “Digital Equity” program, which teaches business owners how to effectively leverage digital-marketing tools in support of their business goals. The program is targeted toward people over 40. Get involved with Oakland Digital by visiting www.oaklanddigital.org.