For 90 percent of the residents of San Jose, connectivity is not an issue, however, the remaining 10 percent have trouble connecting to wireless service, reports Mercury News. Those without internet are primarily private households, for whom the cost of service and devices to receive it is prohibitive.
“There are thousands of our residents who are simply struggling because they are not part of this digital world,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “The key here is to get devices in hands, get connectivity and get skills so that we can improve the living standards of residents and improve the educational opportunities for children.” Although many students have access to technology at school, they are at a disadvantage if they are unable to stay connected at home.
The San Jose Digital Inclusion fund is a grant program set up by the San Jose City Council. The fund is supported by both public and private funding and has so far awarded grants from $5,000 to $150,000 to 23 different organizations. Recipients include charter schools, libraries, and non-profit organizations. Cristo Rey High School plans to use its $25,000 grant to offer digital training sessions for parents and offer $200 stipends for families to get home internet access.
“A lot of it has to do with limited access to technology in the home,” said Cristo Rey Principal Joe Albers. “The issue we see most is that our students are pretty tech-savvy and can adapt, but their parents are not as much, which can prevent them from helping with their student’s academic achievement and can make it harder for them to support their student through their college search.”
“We are grateful for this opportunity to serve students and families to benefit from all the technology and affluence in this region to help them have all the similar opportunities as their more affluent peers,” he added.
“Building an inclusive city, one of the five core pillars of the Smart City Vision, means that we ensure everyone in our city will benefit,” stated a 2017 Digital Inclusion Study by Stanford University and the city of San Jose. “As homework, job opportunities, and services are increasingly digital, those on the wrong side of the digital divide will be left further behind.”
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