Do you need access to the Internet or word processing programs -- whether for personal reasons or job searching -- but don't own a computer? You aren't alone. Unfortunately, it is now almost a requirement to have an email account and be computer savvy in order to apply for a job with many companies. Even more challenging for some people is the fact that wireless (Wi-Fi) access, offered at many coffee shops and restaurants, doesn't help if you don't own a computer.
Luckily, there are several places in the Phoenix area that provide computers as well as word processing and Internet access to the public at little or no charge. Some of these are meant to be used solely for job searching purposes, but others can be used for other purposes such as
- accessing information from your child's school website
- renewing your vehicle registration
- registering for educational programs
- researching medical advice
- searching for products and services
- perusing classifieds for cars or apartments
- and a thousand other uses!
Computers and Internet Available to the Public - General Usage
Various municipal and regional public libraries in the Phoenix area offer computer workstations aside from the computers that are dedicated to the library online catalog. Each library system has its own set of rules and filters that may limit exactly how you can use these computers. Generally, you must have a current library card with no amounts owing in order to access an Internet-enabled library computer. Maricopa County, Apache Junction, Avondale, Buckeye, Cave Creek, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and Wickenburg have public libraries.
Some Phoenix Parks & Recreation Community and Recreation Centers have computer labs. Most recreation centers require you to have a recreation pass in order to use any of the facilities including the computer lab, and fees for that pass vary depending on whether you live in or outside the City of Phoenix.
Within the City of Phoenix there are computers available for public use at:
- Vernell Coleman Recreation Center, 1003 South 9th Ave.
- Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th Street
- Bret Tarver Learning Center, 1516 N. 35th Ave.
- Luke Krohn Recreation Center, 1940 ½ E. Villa St.
If you don't live in Phoenix, or those locations are not convenient, check with the recreation facility in your city to see if there are computers available for public use.
Senior Centers in Greater Phoenix -- Scottsdale, Glendale, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Tempe and maybe others -- offer computer labs and classes. Some don't require you to be a senior, some may have a small annual charge for use of the computers, some have limited hours. Check with the senior center in your community to see if they have computers for public use and what the requirements are.
Computers and Internet Available to the Public - For Job Search
Goodwill Career Centers
These Career Centers are equipped with computers, printers, Internet access, telephones, and fax machines at no cost to the community. The computers are primarily meant to be used for job banks, resume design, and employment research. Goodwill has career centers in Apache Trail, Central Phoenix, Phoenix Mountain Campus, Northeast Phoenix, Northwest Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Peoria, Yuma, and Goodyear.
One-Stop Career Centers
The Resource Centers at each Career Center offer job postings, word processing, resume software, Internet access, and office equipment, including a fax machine and a copier. There are comprehensive sites in north and west Phoenix as well as an affiliate site in south Phoenix.
Maricopa Workforce Connections
Operated by the Maricopa County Workforce Development Division, which is part of the Human Services Department, the centers provide public access to computers, fax machines, and copiers for purposes related to job searching.
Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc.
The resource room at the Westside Workforce Development Center offers its customers access to the Internet, job openings, job fair information, resume writing assistance, a fax machine, and telephone.
Arizona Women's Education & Employment
The organization offers computer access, job search resources, a fax machine, and a local phone. The organization asks that you attend an hour-long orientation workshop and sign up for one of its programs. It has locations in Central Phoenix, East Phoenix, West Phoenix, North Central Phoenix, Chandler/Gilbert, and Yavapai County.
Computers and Internet Access For a Fee
These places offer computer access to the public for a rental charge:
- Office supply stores such as FedEx Office, Staples, and Office Max
- Internet cafes and gaming centers like Cyberzone and NetLans
More Ideas for Public Computer Usage
Your local Maricopa Community College may have public hours for computer usage. If you receive services from a local nonprofit or government agency, ask if there is availability for computer usage as part of their program.
Do you know of another place where people can borrow a computer and get Internet access for either no charge or for a small fee? Let your About.com Phoenix Guide know about it, so she can include it here.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.