TROY – The Automation Alley Fund is trying to raise $75,000 to deliver much-needed laptops to unemployed and underemployed individuals who need them for virtual training.

As a reflection of the urgent need, the donation goal of $75,000 for Laptops for Learning will be matched by a $75,000 contribution from Michigan Works!

“With so many challenges facing student workers, we want to eliminate the cost barrier to accessing technology,” Sigal said. “When we reached out to the Automation Alley member community about Laptops for Learning, we had an immediate response in partnership with Michigan Works! to keep Michigan adult students on the path to success.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended Michigan’s economy. Since March 14, 1.2 million unemployment claims have been filed by Michigan residents, or 25 percent of the state’s labor force. Many of these individuals, who previously relied on computer labs which are now unavailable, are in immediate need of a laptop to upgrade their skills or be trained in a new career. This includes people that have financial hardships, those that have a home computer being used by children enrolled in online schooling, or those sharing their computer with another person in the home for work or job searching.

Manager of Oakland County Michigan Works! Jennifer Llewellyn explained the organization’s support of the effort.

“The Michigan Works! partners from Southeast Michigan are excited to work with the Automation Alley Fund and encourage the business community to make this investment in the skilled workforce of tomorrow,” Llewellyn said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of our adult learners who no longer have access to the technology they need to upgrade their skills or acquire new ones to advance their careers. This is an investment that will pay immediate dividends for both the adult learners and our businesses.”

The Automation Alley Fund will be soliciting donations through August 31. To donate, contact Jake Sigal, Automation Alley Fund President, at [email protected].