Comcast executive Jason M. Gumbs says launching Connect 404 is just the beginning of bridging the gap to connectivity.
On Oct. 30, Comcast announced that they were providing $110,000 in grants to Atlanta nonprofits, Raising Expectations and Inspiredu to support digital equity. The funds will be used to launch Connect 404, a program aimed at increasing internet connectivity and digital skills training.
During the press conference, the senior vice president of the Big South region at Comcast helped explain how the initiative will employ community members as digital navigators to assist residents in accessing internet training programs.
Gumbs spoke exclusively to rolling out explaining why they specifically chose the nonprofits, Raising Expectations and Inspiredu.
What do digital navigators and digital equity mean to you on a personal level?
Digital equity is something that I believe we need to ensure individuals understand its importance. Having broadband service is as crucial as having access to drinking water. It is critical for our residents and communities to participate in the digital economy. The key here is not just accessing the internet, which we provide, but also having the skills to navigate it. Research shows that you can earn more, secure better jobs and find employment in technology, which wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
As for digital navigators, what skills do they need to help the community?
They help individuals become familiar with the internet and acquire digital skills. They provide this service to help everyone, whether you are a teen, a senior or low-income. They offer an opportunity to help you navigate the digital world, regardless of your current skill level and assist you in gaining digital skills.
How is Connect 404 bridging the gap in connectivity for the youth?
I would say it bridges the gap for youth who may not aspire to be in technical jobs or even know that they have access to them. It’s about opening doors and expanding their minds to possibilities they haven’t considered before. This is a multi-generational effort. It’s not just the youth, but also seniors who have been impacted by the economy and may need to re-enter the workforce due to high inflation.
Why did Comcast choose these two nonprofits?
We’ve partnered with Inspiredu for years, for 11 years to be exact. They are a unique partner that has been successful and we want to help them continue to be successful. We’ve learned great things about Raising Expectations, their partnership and what they’re doing. They also partner with Inspiredu and that partnership is critical. We decided that these two were the organizations we needed to partner with and contribute to.
Any last words you have for the community?
I just want to say that I love [Atlanta] and the community. We will continue to give back and make contributions here. This is where our teams live and work. I’m excited about [doing] this. However, there is still a lot of work to be done and our efforts don’t end today with this grant.