TRAIL is an online education organization dedicated to bringing people their first experience with the Internet. We partner with libraries, schools, social services offices, workforce development centers and other trusted public institutions to offer our courses and features online for free. TRAIL’s platforms, JobScout and HealthScout, have allowed thousands of learners to become Internet savvy. With users in over 12 countries, TRAIL is on its way to becoming the “first stop” on the Internet.
Our vision is to make sure our online learning tools get into the hands of the people who need them most, the over 60 million people in the United States who do not know how to use the Internet. Moving forward, our goal is to do the same for the over 5 billion people who face this issue worldwide.
TRAIL is committed to digital literacy, whether you are learning what a URL is and creating your first email account or you are ready to code in HTML. At TRAIL, we create interactive and relevant web-based platforms, like JobScout, that help users and organizations alike learn how to use the Internet to enhance their lives and improve their community based programming.
As founder and CEO, Christina Gagnier, put it best in a piece for the The San Jose Mercury News:
“We need a national focus to end the remaining digital divide so that the Internet can provide an economic boost to all Americans. The return of American ingenuity and the American spirit in the 21st Century will be directly connected to whether people are able to effectively use simple tools to send emails and submit online jobs applications. Let’s not rest on our laurels until all Americans have the ability to utilize the essential tools that are available on the Internet.”
Our goal is simple: to make digital literacy a national and global priority. TRAIL works to be a voice for those not yet online. We do this through our four point approach to offering direct services to our community.
We run campaigns like "It's Easier Than You Think to raise awareness about the issue of digital literacy and digital inclusion. 20% of Americans are impacted by this issue - it's too sizeable to ignore.
We have built platforms and mobile applications in iOS and Android, like JobScout and HealthScout, that have taught people how to use the Internet. We have also built analytics tools, like COMPASS, to track use and progress of learners.
We are working the local, state and federal levels to get digital literacy policy adopted. Only California has an Executive Order calling for California to take measures to make sure digital literacy is a priority.
We work with government agencies and non-profit organizations, like the California Parent Teachers Association, to create curriculum to teach people how to use the Internet. Our specialization is in curriculum development.