A National Awareness Campaign for the Connect to Compete Initiative
The Value of Broadband and Digital Literacy in the 21st Century
On October 12, 2011, Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the launch of the Connect to Compete (C2C) initiative, a collaborative public-private partnership to promote broadband adoption and improve outcomes in disadvantaged communities across the United States. The initiative is currently in the planning stage with the intention of launching local pilot projects in the Spring of 2012, before expanding at the national level later in the year. To support the programmatic offerings, the initiative will also include a three year national awareness campaign that will promote the necessity of broadband and digital literacy skills for individual success in the digital age.
The Connect to Compete Initiative
One Economy will lead the C2C initiative with support from other organizations including, Common Sense Media, Connected Nation, CFY (formerly Computers for Youth), Best Buy, Discovery, the Knight Foundation, Goodwill Industries International, Redemtech and the National League of Cities. The programmatic focus of the C2C initiative will be to bring a comprehensive technology solution to underserved individuals that addresses each of the three required components for sustainable broadband adoption: 1) affordable broadband and computing devices; 2) digital literacy training and technical assistance; and 3) relevant applications and related content. The initiative will begin with a focus on improving educational outcomes for underperforming students, before expanding to address additional target groups, including senior citizens, Americans with disabilities, and Native American communities. The initial education focus of the initiative will include objectives focused on improving the capacity of care-givers to engage with their children’s education; enhancing schools’ ability to communicate with students and parents, encouraging active learning outside the classroom; and increasing students’ ability to learn through technology applications.
The C2C National Awareness Campaign
The digital divide is a source of inequality of opportunity in the United States and an issue of national economic importance. Americans that are not digitally literate are currently excluded from an increasingly vital resource that not only adds value to the individual’s life, but contributes to the vitality of their community and the nation as a whole. Today, the Internet is a prerequisite to complete homework, search for and apply for a decent job, connect with family and friends, use e-government services, and access e-health resources. Furthermore, rural, inner-city, and minority communities with higher concentrations of non-adopters are more likely to have disengaged residents and experience under-investment in community assets, lack of job creation, and slow economic growth.
The C2C national awareness campaign will address these issues by promoting the importance of digital literacy and connecting individuals and families to free community resources and training services to educate themselves in a growing technological society. The campaign will seek to help the target audience understand that digital literacy skills are a key differentiator of individual success and civic participation. A national toll free number, a website and mobile programs will serve as the primary platform for the campaign, by connecting the target audience to local digital literacy training locations and free training resources on the Internet. They will also connect them to online resources that will help them take action on issues related to education, health, workforce development, and civic engagement.
One Economy is currently working to develop a partnership with the Ad Council that will result in a three year $90 million C2C national awareness campaign. In order to secure support from the Ad Council, we are seeking $1 million in funding to support the campaign activities for the first year. Support of this effort will not only help this important message reach underserved Americans across the United States, but also connect them to the opportunity to obtain affordable broadband service and computer options, as well as receive vital training that will enable them to compete and succeed in our 21st century economy.