Eliminate the Digital Divide Advisory Committee Capstone Project

uic_logo_large_blue_revI serve as the chair of the Eliminate the Digital Divide Advisory Committee of the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development. Recently I worked with fellow committee member Norm Peterson of Argonne National Laboratory to submit an application under the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Public Administration MPA Capstone program, “which provides MPA students with a practical, team-based experience in problem-solving within public or nonprofit organizations”.

The project was awarded and we’re ready to get to work. Here’s what we’re up to, as taken from our application:

The project focuses on the data collection and analysis of grants to Digital Divide recipients, investigation of other grant opportunities for grantees, finding ways to increase the amount of grantee information shared with the public, and the creation of a community of shared learning among grantees.

Briefly, the issue we want to address is that there are little to no connections between the work of community technology centers— where hundreds of Illinois residents go every day to write resumes, gain skills, and search for jobs, and the larger workforce development community.

Secondly, there is no community of shared learning among these centers, and little awareness of the great work that each of them are doing to spread the meaningful use of technology to all Illinois residents.

This project is of particular relevance at this time for the following reasons:

  • The Eliminate the Digital Divide Advisory Committee has a renewed focused on forging these connections and building a community of shared learning
  • The Committee has done a significant amount of work in compiling relevant data, including statewide grant info, grant recipient contact information, and possible additional sources of revenue for the grantees
  • Broad-spread digital skills training is an ever-increasing need in the state

We’re grateful to UIC and we’re excited to get to work!