A US senator introduced new legislation called Device Access for Every American Act, which aims to help all Americans obtain and use digital devices in order to participate in our increasingly digital society.
Senator Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., Introduced the bill to the Senate this week, while Representative A. Donald McEachin, D-Va., Introduced it to the House. The purpose of the law is to authorize the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to create a program that would allow them to give vouchers of $ 400 to Americans in need so they can purchase laptops, tablets, computers or other devices.
Further details for device access for each U.S. law would include the allocation of $ 5 billion in federal funding for the aforementioned voucher program, allowing up to two low-income people per household to obtain these vouchers. , and would order the FCC to team up with retailers. to promote the program.
While being introduced in both houses of Congress is a necessary first step, the legislation has a long way to go, pending approval. It has, however, been endorsed and praised by several digital equity organizations, including the National Alliance for Digital Inclusion, which works with local government, civic technology groups and others at the state or local level in space.
Those interested in learning more about device access for each U.S. law can read a page about the bill as well as the full text of the bill now. (Zack)
US CENSUS BUREAU MAKES 2020 REDISTRICTION DATA EASIER TO READ
The US Census Bureau has now made the redistribution data available in an easier to use format, the Bureau announced.
Topics within this data include local-level results from the 2020 census population count, disaggregated by race, Hispanic origin, ages of those of voting age, and housing unit data.
Everything is available in the 2020 Census Cutoff Data Summary File (Public Law 94-171), which can now be found on the census website. Everything is identical to the data first released on August 12, except that it is in a format that is easier to analyze.
The data was also disseminated directly to the states, in a toolkit of DVDs and flash drives that have integrated navigation software as it applies to redrawing the boundaries of congressional districts, both nationally. and at the state level.
“We are delighted to be able to provide this data to the public in a more user-friendly format,” said Ron Jarmin, Acting Director of the Census Bureau, in a press release.
All of this is relevant to the civic tech folks, as the census data is the core data set for the district and will serve as such for the next 10 years. While redistribution is only one purpose for which the data is used, it is among the most important for government functions, along with financial allocations. (Zack)
YOUNG PEOPLE CAN OBTAIN THE CERTIFICATE THROUGH THE DIGITAL EQUITY PROGRAM
Delete the Divide, Los Angeles County’s aptly named digital equity initiative, works to help 1,000 young people in that jurisdiction get professional computer certificates.
To accomplish this, the program will offer certificate programs by partnering with Google and Facebook, all at no cost to participants with no prior diploma or experience required. The programs will be the Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate; Google’s professional IT support certificate; the Google project management certificate; Google’s UX Design Certificate; and the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.
The aim of the program is to help young people acquire professional skills to be able to enter high-growth fields within three to six months of starting work on the programs. Once the certificates are obtained, participants will have the opportunity to apply for jobs at technology companies, including Google and Facebook.
Participation will be available to young adults aged 12 to 24 from communities where 20.1% to 100% of households do not have Internet access.
Interested parties can find more information on the Delete the Divide website. (Zack)
TOOLKIT OFFERS A DIGITAL SKILLS MASTER PLAN FOR LIBRARIES
The Digital Navigator Toolkit, which was developed by the Salt Lake City Public Library (SLCPL), is now available. Libraries can use this toolkit to help community members with limited internet access or computer experience.
It was created as a result of a partnership between the Council of Urban Libraries, SLCPL and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. This partnership supported a 10-month pilot project of the model in Salt Lake City. The pilot project, which started in fall 2020, supported 585 community members in disadvantaged areas.
Announced last week, the toolkit includes resources to help libraries meet community needs and assess progress. It can be found at urbanlibraries.org. (Julia Edinger)
NEW YORK RELEASES BROADBAND CHALLENGES REPORT
New York released a report that details broadband access and the challenges facing the state. The report notes that more than one million homes in the state – or 13.8% – do not have access to broadband services at home.
The report also notes that predominantly rural areas are underserved in terms of broadband infrastructure. In addition, 1 in 3 households with an income below $ 20,000 did not have broadband access in their home. Internet access speed is also noteworthy in this report, as only 13.5% had broadband access at speeds of 250/25 Mbps in 2019.
State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli urged the state to develop a strategy that would leverage federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and funds from the much-discussed infrastructure bill. He recommended that the strategy accelerates the availability of broadband connections, improves access for low-income households and improves overall affordability. (Julia Edinger)