OPERATIONS

White House taps Best Buy to connect America

BY Dan Berthiaume

Minneapolis – While the buzzing sounds and dings of dial-up Internet access may seem like quaint relics of the turn of the century, the fact remains that millions of Americans lack even that level of Web connectivity. To help bridge this digital divide, Best Buy will participate in a new ConnectHome initiative announced by President Obama and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro.

The pilot program is launching in 27 cities and the Choctaw Tribal Nation to initially reach more than 275,000 low-income households and nearly 200,000 children with the support they need to access the Internet at home. Internet service providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs and devices for residents in assisted housing units. Best Buy will provide on-the-ground technical skills and digital literacy training.

Best Buy will conduct 20-30 Geek Squad Academy tech education programs in cities and reservations nationwide with specific outreach to teens in public housing communities. Digital literacy training also will be provided to families and teens in select HUD communities, along with free ongoing afterschool tech education programs for teens participating in ConnectHome at Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.

“At Best Buy, we believe we have a responsibility to share our knowledge and resources to help underserved populations experience the benefits of technology,” said Susan Bass Roberts, head of community relations/diversity & inclusion at Best Buy. “By participating in the ConnectHome initiative, we can ensure these families and children have the skills they need to make the most of Internet access.”

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