The City of Detroit hired Joshua Edmonds, a new Director of Digital Inclusion, whose task will be to reduce the “digital divide” by developing strategies to expand access to computers and the Internet to more Detroiters. Edmonds will be working with the Department of Innovation and Technology in the effort.
Edmonds comes to Detroit from Cleveland, Ohio, where he oversaw deployment of more than $1.5 million in digital-inclusion investments through The Cleveland Foundation, the major community foundation for that city. Edmonds also served at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, where he worked on President Obama’s ConnectHome initiative, a partnership among communities, the private sector and federal government, to expand high-speed broadband to more families across the country.
The city currently has among the nation’s highest rate of residents who lack access to computers and the internet. Studies have shown that as many as 40 percent of Detroit residents don’t have access to broadband internet, even as broadband has become essential to employment opportunities, education, health care, news and information, shopping and social life.