An internet connection can’t teach you how to Google something. It can’t teach people the best job search sites, young students how to properly research for schoolwork, or so many other things. New internet users are lost without ongoing support.
Oakland is at the forefront of training its newly connected residents how to jumpstart learning for their kids and find new job opportunities in better paying fields.
On the latest episode of Desegregate the Internet, Oakland digital inclusion activist Dirk Tillotson hosted a panel of his city’s top #InternetForAll experts and stakeholders to discuss how they’re working to not only connect everyone in their city—but help them actually learn internet skills to thrive for the rest of their lives. Watch the full episode below and share with your friends, family, and neighbors to build the movement to desegregate the internet in your community.
The problem at hand is that millions of American students cannot access adequate computers and internet to do their schoolwork amid a pandemic they didn’t cause. Oakland made huge strides in 2020, connecting nearly the whole city with a variety of solutions.
But it can’t stop there, said David Silver, Director of Education in Oakland. He walked Dirk through the city’s efforts to connect new internet users to lucrative entry-level job openings in the tech industry.
Silver said it is imperative that historically neglected communities receive the best support now.
“The number one thing we can do to solve the digital divide is to make fiber internet robust in historically redlined neighborhoods,” he said.
In other words, bulk up ongoing fiber installations and make them reliable and useful to these communities.
Lili Gangas of the Kapor Center, which opens up opportunities in the tech sector for underserved people, explained further the importance of the best and most reliable high-speed fiber internet for Oakland’s poorest residents.
“We have to make sure that as this fiber comes in that it’s actually designed for the communities that need it the most,” she said, noting that this may look different from the way internet has been provided before to wealthier neighborhoods.
At the end of the day, said Sydewayz Cafe CEO Yakpasua Zazaboi, what these neighborhoods need most is one main thing.
“One of the critical needs in our community is support,” the IT expert said.
Support, of course, means many things, some of which are being handled in Oakland by the rest of Zazaboi’s panel mates.