Our meeting kicked off this month with two Hire KC Youth Digital Scholars, Noah Yener and Eleanor Nash. The report they’ve worked on for the last 8 weeks of their internship was to identify and evaluate Community Learning Centers, such as Brush Creek Community Center, Marlborough Community Center and Connecting for Good, among others. Their evaluation was based on the digital resources available within the centers and found that most community centers had less than ideal conditions – either computers that weren’t working or didn’t have basic programs necessary for students and residents. Ultimately, the duo hopes this evaluation will help close “The Homework Gap” by giving recommendations to those centers that failed to meet ideal conditions.
The Coalition was also lucky to have Angela Siefer from National Digital Inclusion Alliance in attendance. Siefer had attended Kansas City Digital Drive’s Gigabit City Summit event Aug. 1-3 and stayed an extra day for our Coalition meeting. She praised Kansas City for its inclusion efforts, explicitly stating that Kansas City is a digital leader and that the Coalition’s network in Kansas City is a blueprint for cities across the nation.
After our guest speaker, we heard presentations from our work session groups.
The “Overcoming Barriers” group identified the barriers of lack of access to the internet, lack of awareness of local access to the internet, and lack of knowledge that the internet is an important commodity. The group is in the process of reaching out to hird District City Council members about the location of public wifi, updating the public wifi map and researching educational opportunities in areas of low access.
The “Broadening Participation” group was lead by Rick Usher, whose group is already focused on broadcasting the news of the Digital Inclusion Coalition, such as posting all meetings on Facebook Live. They are in the process of meeting with the KC Rising group as a part of the workforce development piece of their broadening participation solutions.
The “Connecting People,” group is in the process of connecting to the United Way call center in order to leverage their massive reach through their 211 services. This group needs more members if any of the Coalition members are interested.
The “Raising Awareness” group, presented by Tom Esselman, has an ultimate goal of spreading the word of digital inclusion in a meaningful way. The biggest challenge is to create a message that is concrete and meaningful, and their solution has been so far to identify the audience for tailored messages: Consumer, Learner, Digital Citizen, Employer, Entrepreneur and Collaborator.
Next month, the sessions will convene again for a big group work session on Friday, September 8, 2017.