Despite living in San Jose, the largest city in Silicon Valley, many of the residents are often excluded from the wide range of technology-related career opportunities this area offers. According to a survey by the City of San Jose, 95,000 San Jose residents, made up of 36% Latinx and 47% African American families, lack internet access at home.
Providing digital access and digital literacy skills for these underserved groups is imperative to enhancing their opportunities to work, live, thrive and not get further left behind.
The City of San Jose together with the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation has plans to change that through establishing the Digital Inclusion Partnership, a $24 million cross-sector fund that will be distributed in grant awards over a ten-year period and aims to provide internet access and build the digital skills for 50,000 San Jose households. San Jose is the first city in the country to create such a groundbreaking initiative and is the city’s largest philanthropic effort in recent history.
NPower California was honored to be one of the 23 community organizations chosen as first-round grant recipients to help close the digital divide in San Jose. Christopher Starling, Colonel, US Marine Corps (Retired) and NPower California Executive Director states,“While many of us take for granted internet access at home, over 1 million Bay Area residents lack this important access and that can severely limit opportunities. With the generous help of San Jose’s Digital Inclusion Partnership, NPower is helping to close that gap. Young adults and veterans currently enrolled in our Tech Fundamentals program are equipped with laptop computers and access to broadband internet at home. Pathways to economic prosperity and tech careers require digital inclusion. NPower is committed to it.”
NPower alumnus, Shauntrel Brown shared his incredible journey at the recent awards ceremony hosted by San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo. As a Navy veteran, Shauntrel’s story of opportunity combined with grit and dedication mirrors the stories of many students that are often one chance away from launching a successful career in tech.
Shauntrel proudly works as an Information Technology Specialist at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and has almost tripled his salary since joining NPower. As an NPower ambassador, he continues to pay it forward as a veteran helping fellow veterans successfully transition from military to civilian life.