An Assets-Based Response to the Digital Divide: Success for One Summer Youth Employment Program Serving a Minoritized Community During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the impact of the digital divide on student success in the United States. With almost zero preparation, programs serving young people completely restructured moving from face-to-face engagement to entirely virtual platforms. This study details discoveries made during a 2020 summer youth employment program for adolescent-aged interns that quickly pivoted to virtual program delivery. The study reveals an assets-based philosophy applied to the practice of the program and how that approach mitigated the consequences of the face-to-face to a virtual switch. Highlighted are ways that Yosso’s (2005) Community Cultural Wealth framework describes how the program staff created success in the unexpectedly virtual workspaces. Lastly, recommendations for facilitating virtual summer youth employment programming are provided.