Building Digital Bridges: A Warm Welcome From Bertie County Extension’s New Digital Skills Agent

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Image of Rebecca Jinnette, the Digital Skills Agent for the Bertie County N.C. Cooperative Extension, sitting at her desk

Rebecca Jinnette, Digital Skills Agent for the Bertie County N.C. Cooperative Extension

Hi, I’m Rebecca Jinnette, the new Digital Skills Agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Bertie County Center! I am here courtesy of a generous $1.33 million grant from the Office of Digital Equity and Literacy, which is part of the Division of Broadband and Digital Equity within the NC Department of Information Technology. This award was earmarked to hire digital skills agents in participating counties to host FREE digital skills educational opportunities in their communities. Bertie is one of the 12 lucky counties to directly benefit from Extension’s new Digital Skills Education Program.

My first two weeks on the job have been very busy. I’ve been reaching out every single day to Bertie organizations who might be interested in partnering with me to help utilize the resources I’ve been allocated to deliver free digital skills classes around the county. The most exciting one of these resources is an amazing mobile classroom consisting of 10 MacBook Air laptops, a MiFi hotspot, and a projector. This means I could practically teach a 10-person class in a cornfield so long as we had one electrical source and some cellphone service there! My ultimate goal is to offer onsite coursework not only just in Windsor, but also in ALL of Bertie’s outlying municipalities. I want to drive community engagement here as much as I can by making my classes super convenient so that everyone who wants to participate has a chance to enjoy this programming.

I am also hoping to make my programming more convenient for potential students by hosting individualized tutoring via 1:1 Tech Drop-In Sessions here at the Extension office. These one-on-one sessions are ideal for students who need tutoring on very specific topics, or for students who may be experiencing anxiety about the classroom setting and feel an individual appointment might be more impactful. If you experience feelings of shame or fear associated with your digital skill set I encourage you to reach out and set up a personal appointment! This is a no-judgment zone and you’ll be surprised at how far a little 1:1 tutoring can take you towards your goal of increasing your self-esteem in the tech realm.

The other thing I’ve been doing with my time thus far is developing new digital skills curriculums customized to meet the needs of our community here in Bertie. My initial focus will be to teach basic computer skills and raise awareness about scam prevention. Later this year I will have the opportunity to delve into more specialized topics that people in our area have been telling me they’d like to learn more about, including Smartphone Tips, Microsoft Office, Social Media, Telehealth (MyChart), online eCommerce platforms like Etsy & eBay, resume building, and applying for jobs online.

I’m excited to share that I have partnered with Bertie’s 4-H agent, Ms. Toniqua Young, so that she may use me as a resource (along with our mobile classroom) to help enhance her youth programming. Ms. Young and I will be doing youth outreach together at her alma mater, Bertie Early College, on May 8th where we plan to speak to their students about workforce preparedness and other topics.

You can also catch me over at the Bertie Council on Aging this May. I was very touched by the overwhelming support I have received from their staff and seniors for our new Digital Navigator Program. The council’s dynamic new director, Ms. Rebecca Stapleton, informed me that they already have a full class for me with a wait list of others who want to participate! I will be delivering my very first class there on computer literacy for senior citizens during the second week of May. I will also be participating in their Scam Jam event on May 24th, where I will be interacting with the community, handing out digital skills surveys, and delivering a short presentation about how to defeat email phishing scams by using the S.T.O.P. method.

I firmly believe we can help each other shine brightly and work together to change lives in our wonderful Bertie community. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested in getting on my digital skills classes mailing list, have suggestions about what topics you would like to see me teach, want to set up a 1:1 Tech Drop-In Session, or know of a place that might like to host me for a free class. I can be reached at or 252-794-5317 ext. 6170. Let’s chat soon about what I can do for you!