Loretto Focuses Digital Literacy Efforts on Seniors

Posted: January 3, 2023

To expand its digital literacy efforts, Loretto Telecom recently launched technology classes for senior citizens.

Like many cooperative initiatives, Loretto didn’t address these efforts for an immediate return. Whether it’s profitable or not, Loretto offered the classes to improve the quality of life for locals. Best of all, it positions Loretto as the local technology expert.

“Our goal is to help seniors, so they’re not left behind,” Loretto General Manager Jason Shelton says. “In a recent class, there weren’t any participants who lived in our service area, but we do it for our community.”

About the Course

Offered at the Lawrence County Public Library, classes start with straightforward concepts.

“Seniors realize they can’t avoid technology, but they need someone for simple ‘how to’ questions,” Shelton says. “We started with generic technology terms and let them bring their own device. We let them ask anything, so pride doesn’t hold them up.”

Shelton also mentions that many digital literacy efforts are focused on low-income individuals, but seniors are also eager to learn about technology.

“From online banking to video calls with your doctor, there’s so many ways seniors can use technology to improve the quality of their lives,” says Carrie Huckeby, TNBA executive director.

Additional 2023 Efforts

After the recent addition of Customer Experience Supervisor Bridget Holden, Loretto will expand its initiatives next year.

Loretto plans to offer programs that include key stakeholders to keep schools and local government officials aware of future opportunities.

“We’ll pursue programs with the Foundation for Rural Service, like scholarships and Washington, D.C., trips, and other ways to partner with Veterans Affairs to help through virtual medical appointments,” Shelton says.

Loretto also recently received the largest grant in company history from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

“We’re extremely excited,” Shelton says. “The $10.5 million project will add well over 100 miles of new fiber and pass 2,200 additional homes.”

Loretto expects to start construction in early 2023.

Learn More

Listen to a recent “Lead Tennessee Radio” podcast with TNECD Broadband Director Taylre Beaty to hear about digital literacy and adoption efforts across the state.