On Wednesday (16 July 2015) the White House launched a new Housing and Urban Development program to connect dozens of low-income community households to the Internet. “Connect Home” is an initiative that provides free or low-cost Internet to thousands of people in 27 cities across the U.S. and, crucially, subsidized tablets and digital literacy training.
The Connect Home program was introduced by President Barack Obama in a speech to the Choctaw Nation at Durant HS, Durant Oklahoma, he made the salience of connectivity to modern life as clear as the fiber optic cable that delivers it to (some) residents. The president said, “Even old folks like me know it’s important. In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills, order a pizza, even find a date by taping your phone, the Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet.”
The program has a select group of partners that includes Best Buy, GitHub, College Board, Khan Academy, Age of Learning, the Public Broadcasting Service, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the American Library Association and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
The Connect Home program is based on private-sector commitments and foundation funding in addition to a small grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A notable group member is Google, which launched a program in all of its markets to provide $0 per month service to residents in select public housing. The 80/20 and James M. Cox Foundation’s will also provide funding for some of the Connect Home programs.
The White House hopes the program will help close the “homework gap” that exists between low-income children and the rest of the population. According to a new report by the Council of Economic Advisers, approximately 55% of America’s low-income family children under 10 have no Internet access at home.
Read Article (Alexander Howard | huffingtonpost.com | 07/16/2015)
The time to seriously begin addressing digital literacy is now and the president has made the current situation very clear. Anyone that is not tech-savvy or comfortable online, is on the wrong side of the Digital Divide and exposes themselves to consequences which sometimes are serious.
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