Assemblyman Jones: State Budget Gets North Country Seniors Online
Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that he secured $250,000 in the 2018-19 state budget for Older Adults Technology Services, Inc. (OATS) – a nonprofit that helps seniors connect and learn to use the internet. The funding will help OATS sustain and expand its reach throughout the region and increase internet literacy among seniors.
“OATS has helped older adults across the North Country get online and get connected,” Jones said. “Not only has it allowed seniors to stay up-to-date and in touch with loved ones, it also keeps the state on track with its commitment to expand broadband connectivity in rural communities.”
OATS offers a variety of broadband technology programs and uses public-private partnerships to increase digital literacy. In 2015, Empire State Development’s broadband program office awarded an $812,000 grant to OATS for the creation of the Senior Planet Exploration Center in Plattsburgh, a new fully equipped local technology lab for the Malone Adult Center, a vehicular mobile training lab and a web-based learning platform that allows seniors to learn about technology remotely. Jones noted that to date, OATS has served more than 800 North Country seniors – 87 percent of whom felt more optimistic about their future and 77 percent of whom have more access to health information as a result of the OATS programs.