If you’ve been incarcerated for a long time, computers and phones are going to be a brand new world. Even if you haven’t been incarcerated very long, you may still want to improve your technology skills.
You can get free classes on how to use computers through your local public library. The Community Technology Center at the Denver Public Library at 10 West 14th Avenue is a good example. The class schedule changes every month, so you will need to call, check the website, or drop by. They want to help—you will be welcome! The phone number is 720-865-1706.
To find your local library, google the name of your town and public library to find its website. A schedule of classes will be on the website. You can also call the library and ask.
Searching for something on the internet is called googling. This term is taken from the company called Google, which operates the most popular search engine for the internet. You can watch our video below and learn how to do a Google search.
Google maps is a very helpful online way to plan how to get around, whether by foot, car, bike, or public transportation. Our video explains the ins and outs of Google maps.
Craigslist is a free website for classified ads. Look up www.craigslist.com to see how it's organized by topic. Our video shows you how to use craigslist to search for a job and a place to live.
Creating an e-mail account is free. It is important to have an e-mail account, especially for job searches. Our video shows you how to create an e-mail account and how to attach your resume.
You may be tempted to run out and buy a phone right away. If you have the money, that’s okay, but spend your money wisely and buy cheap until you can afford something better. For example, some grocery stores sell phones and minutes, such as the Mobile Market kiosk inside some King Soopers. If you have very little money, you may want to wait before buying a phone. Some of the organizations in the Employment section have a phone answering service that you can use for the short-term and your immediate job search.
You may have heard of free phones that come with several hundred free mobile minutes and texts a month. These phones are provided through a government program called Lifeline Assistance. People qualify for these phones based on how much they earn or whether they receive certain state programs such as TANF. (Sometimes these phones are called Obama phones.)
The program is run by private companies in Colorado, such as Budget Mobile, Assurance Wireless, Cricket, CenturyLink Qwest, and Q Link Wireless. You can apply for a phone online, or you can apply for one in person. Watch for their kiosk-like tents set up in popular places such as Colfax and Lincoln in Denver. To learn more, click below.
Flip Phones and Smart Phones
Phones come in two types: simple flip phones that let you call and text, and smart phones, which include the internet and email. Shop around for the best data deal if you get a smart phone. If you're not sure how to use a smart phone, you can search on youtube.com, a website that hosts thousands of videos ranging from pet tricks to algebra.
We found a helpful video on how to use a smartphone on youtube. This type of smartphone uses the Android platform, which is the most popular operating system for smartphones. The other most popular platform is used by the iphone, which are more expensive. Click below to learn about the Android system.
PCs for People is a nonprofit organization that offers very low cost laptop and desktop computers. To be eligible, you must be low income, which is less than $23,540 for one person. Bring a phone ID and proof of eligibility, which could be a tax statement from the last year, or a letter from the county stating the benefits you receive. The pay stubs and letter from the county must be dated within the past six months. Laptops are currently $50-$150 and desktops are $30-$125. Be sure to ask about their low cost internet program that costs about $13 a month for a hot spot. Located at 1548 W. Alameda Ave, Unit C, Denver, CO 80223. Phone number is 720-278-7725. Hours are Monday - Friday, 10 am - 5:30 pm. Click below to visit the PCs for People.