Grant Will Fund New Program to Train Students and Community Members to Facilitate Digital Adoption in Miami-Dade County
MIAMI – July 12, 2022 – Comcast announced today it has awarded a $100,000 grant to Miami Dade College (MDC) as part of its Digital Adoption Initiative, aiming to bridge the digital divide and increase digital equity in South Florida communities.
The grant funding will be used to teach MDC students to become Digital Navigators, individuals affiliated with trusted community organizations who are trained to help people access the Internet, use devices, and build digital skills. Once their training is complete, the new MDC Digital Navigators will begin working in South Florida communities with a low digital adoption rate. Members of community-based organizations will also be trained to become digital instructors to provide digital literacy courses for their clients and communities.
It is estimated that Miami-Dade County has the third highest percentage of households without an internet subscription (20.5%), * prompting the need to increase access for digital literacy in underserved and undeveloped areas.
“It is very exciting to see Miami-Dade County being recognized as a hub for technological development, innovation and creativity, but there are too many in our community who are still not able to take full advantage of digital resources,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “We are grateful for the support of Comcast to help improve digital adoption and expand digital literacy skills across our community – and nowhere better to house this initiative than Miami Dade College, which is committed to driving digital equity.”
“Solving complex problems that plague our communities, like digital inequality and lack of Internet access, requires collaboration and ingenuity,” said Miami Dade College President Madeline Pumariega. “Miami Dade College is proud to be working with Comcast, one the largest technology companies in the world, on the new Digital Navigators program. This unique initiative gives our students the opportunity to not only learn about a real-world problem, but also immediately use their newly acquired knowledge and skills to help solve it in their communities.”
Set to launch this fall, the Digital Navigators program will provide participating students with the tools necessary to bridge the digital divide in unconnected neighborhoods and households, including instruction from high-trained digital instructors, free tuition, service-learning hours and a $250 stipend. The students will show residents how they can go online to discover and access critical resources and benefits, including food support, government assistance programs, employment opportunities and more.
The funding follows the announcement of a nationwide study by the Boston Consulting Group, which found that Digital Navigators are critical to closing the digital divide and reducing socioeconomic inequalities by helping more people get online.
The study surveyed 1,500 individuals across the country who received support from a Digital Navigator. With the support of these digital case workers:
- More than 65 percent of survey respondents said they obtained Internet access or a computer or tablet at home; among Hispanic and Black Americans, this increased to 72 percent.
- More than 85 percent of all respondents said they used the Internet more frequently.
- Almost half surveyed obtained better healthcare, and 40 percent received support with basic needs like food, rent, and housing.
- 1 in 3 found a new job or earned a higher income.
“Since we first launched our Internet Essentials program more than a decade ago, we knew that getting Internet access to unconnected households was just the beginning,” said Javier Garcia, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Comcast in Florida. “It is just as critical to make sure people understand how to best take advantage of all the Internet has to offer. Now with the Digital Navigators program, we are taking another important step to engage directly with those in need and continue to make progress in closing the digital divide.”
Digital Navigators is a part of Project UP, Comcast’s comprehensive, one-billion-dollar initiative to advance digital equity over the next ten years and reach millions of people with the skills, opportunities and resources they need to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
*Data from FIU Jorge M Perez Metropolitan Center, “South Florida’s Digital Divide.” Updated May 2020.
About Internet Essentials
In 2011, Comcast launched Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most successful private-sector low-income broadband adoption program; since launch it has connected over 10 million people to the Internet at home, most for the very first time. It recently launched Internet Essentials Plus, a service that includes high-speed Internet, a cable modem, access to millions of WiFi hotspots, and unlimited data for $29.95 per month. Any Xfinity customer across all Comcast’s markets who qualifies for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) can apply their $30 credit toward their monthly Internet and/or Xfinity Mobile bill. Customers can visit http://www.xfinity.com/acp or call 844-389-4681 for more information, to determine eligibility, and sign up. A dedicated ACP Enrollment and Support Center is available from 8AM to 12AM daily, with multi-lingual capabilities to assist anyone interested in the program.
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest high-speed internet, video, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand and provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
About Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College is the most diverse institution in the nation. With 167 nations and 63 languages represented in its student body, the college’s eight campuses and outreach centers offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways, including associate and baccalaureate degrees, career certificates and apprenticeships. Baccalaureate degree offerings include biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others. MDC is the recipient of many top national awards including the Aspen Prize. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences. It is the home of the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, The Idea Center, the Cybersecurity Center of the Americas, the Cloud Computing Center, the Center for Learning, Innovation and Simulation, the School for Advanced Studies, and the New World School of the Arts, to name a few of its most innovative programs. MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” since the program’s inception. The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $3 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry. MDC is renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is the home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, Live Arts Miami at MDC, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, the Museum of Art and Design, a sculpture park and a large campus art gallery and theater system. MDC has admitted more than 2.5 million students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960. Approximately 120,000 students are currently enrolled. For more information, visit www.mdc.edu.
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