MECC Bridges Digital Divide with Innovative Laptop Loan Program

Laptop Program

Big Stone Gap, Virginia — Mountain Empire Community College has launched an initiative to provide essential technologies to students who need it most. MECC’s Student Services and Student Outreach Center, in collaboration with the college’s IT department, has launched an innovative laptop loan program to ensure all students have access to the technology required for their studies.


Lelia Bradshaw, Dean of Student Services at Mountain Empire Community College (MECC), led the project to provide over 100 computers to students in need after the demand for loaned technology increased post-pandemic.


Funded through several state grants and other funding sources, the program offers laptops on loan to students at no cost. Laptops are fully equipped with the necessary software and settings by the college’s Technology Department, for those who may not have access to such technology at home. 


This collaborative effort between departments is not only about leveling the playing field; it reflects the college’s dedication to education, equality, and the well-being of its students. Ritchie Deel, Mountain Empire Community College’s Chief Information Officer, noted, “The IT department’s role in this program has been crucial in bridging the technological divide within our student community. Collaborating with Student Services allowed us to tailor the technology to meet our students’ unique educational needs. This is more than just providing hardware; it’s about empowering our students with the tools they need to succeed in a digital world. It’s a testament to what we can achieve when different departments come together with a shared vision, and I’m incredibly proud of the dedication to making this initiative a reality.”


“The laptop loan program represents what we stand for as an institution,” added Bradshaw. “It’s about recognizing the individual needs of our students and taking tangible steps to support them in their academic journey.”


The response from the students has been overwhelmingly positive, with many expressing gratitude and emphasizing how this initiative has enhanced their learning experience. The success of the program has led to discussions on growing and sustaining the program long-term, potentially inspiring similar initiatives in other educational institutions.


For those interested in learning more about the laptop loan program or who want to explore how they can support this vital initiative, please contact Lelia Bradshaw at, (276)523-9107.