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June 24

MCC, iFixOmaha launch
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Device recycling and refurbishment programputs technology into hands of people who need them for free.

A new program at Metropolitan Community College will provide the public with free, refurbished, internet-enabled devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones. DeviceConnect Omaha, developed in partnership with MCC Digital Express and iFixOmaha aims to increase digital equity in the community. Individuals can submit a request for a device and receive refurbished equipment.

When consumers upgrade their digital devices, many leave the device they are replacing sitting idle in their homes. Through DeviceConnect Omaha, devices no longer in use can be dropped off at MCC Digital Express, located in Building 10 on the Fort Omaha Campus, where certified professionals with iFixOmaha will wipe the data, refurbish the technology, divert it from the landfill and put it in the hands of someone in the community who can put it to good use.

According to estimates from the 2021 American Community Survey, nearly 1 in every 10 Nebraskans lacks internet access, and in some pockets, more than 14% of households lack connectivity. Additionally, in three areas in which MCC has campuses — North Omaha, South Omaha and Dodge County — more than 15% of the population only has a smartphone for all of their computing needs.

Jason DeWater founded iFixOmaha, which also offers at-cost device repair service to the community at Digital Express’ Reboot Central service desk. DeWater said expanding the partnership with MCC to offer a device, refurbishment and recycling program is something he is passionate about. He knows there is a great need for it and views technology as an “equalizer.” During the start of the pandemic, he provided the service for free at iFixOmaha locations and saw strong community response.

“People need these devices. We know from doing this in the past that if our community knows there is a need, people will line up to donate their laptops and tablets,” DeWater said.

DeWater said in addition to partnering with MCC to offer the first mobile device repair academy in the nation, a goal was to have a presence on the Fort Omaha Campus. Nearly 9 out of every 10 customers that come to the Digital Express location have never been served by iFixOmaha in the past.

“It’s a really unique partnership, and it makes me so proud and happy to do anything we can to help support the vision for Digital Express and get these devices to as many people in the community as possible,” DeWater said. 

To request a device, visit donate.ifixomaha.com and fill out the form to submit a request for a laptop, tablet or smartphone; iFixOmaha will work to find a repurposed device that meets the needs of the end user. A form is also available to register to repurpose device(s), which provides instructions on the intake process.

When receiving used devices, tech professionals with iFixOmaha will safely wipe all data. The company has a AAA certification from the National Association of Information Destruction, a process that ensures data destruction companies are in compliance with industry standards and government regulations around information security.

Businesses are also eligible to repurpose devices. Technology no longer supported with software updates is also accepted. Any usable parts will be harvested, and unusable parts will be recycled. Devices will be screened for quality before being issued.

Devices are provided to recipients in the order in which requests are submitted. Visit donate.ifixomaha.com for more information.

Other learning opportunities at Digital Express 

Digital Express offers free programming to the general public for people of all ages. An AARP-sponsored class from its Senior Planet series is available for anyone age 60 and up to attend. Titled “Introduction to Digital Culture,” the class teaches attendees how to use the internet to connect with others, avoid scams, identify online health resources and more.

Introduction to Digital Culture meets twice a week for each five-week session. Space is limited. The class is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Register for the next available session by calling 531-MCC-2000.