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Digital Inclusion Week Symposium | October 7, 2020

From the Event:

In a Nutshell:

Digital Inclusion is bigger than just ensuring access to devices and internet connections

New Jersey needs a digital equity plan at the state level

You can join DIPNJ by signing up here



Introduction, What is Digital Inclusion?

Michael Strom | Co-founding Member | DIPNJ

Andrew Farrelly | Co-founding Member | DIPNJ

Welcome to The DIPNJ Digital Inclusion Week Symposium

Justin Scheid | Field Office Director | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Micro-Lectures: The Many Considerations of Digital Inclusion

The Universal Need for Tech Support

Sierra Harvey | Director, Student Experience | Per Scholas

Sierra Harvey is the Sr. Manager for Alumni Engagement for Per Scholas Institute of Technology. In her role, she specializes in creating processes and pathways to opportunities for individuals to learn and grow professionally. She believes that digital inclusion is important because, without it, inequities flourish which leaves talented yet under-served communities at risk. |

Digital Inclusion and the CARES Act

Annemarie C. Uebbing | Director, Community Planning and Development Office | U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

202-422-0785 |

The Digital Divide and Education

Allison Strobel | Chief of Staff | Jersey City Housing Authority

Allison Strobel is the Chief of Staff at the Jersey City Housing Authority (JCHA) where she coordinates strategic interdepartmental collaboration and operations. She also oversees JCHA’s Department of Resident Empowerment and Community Engagement (RECE), which partners with dozens of local, state, and national organizations to offer a range of services and referral resources to JCHA’s nearly 15,000 residents. RECE partnerships focus on youth development and recreation, employment and training, digital inclusion, senior services, and physical as well as mental wellness. |

Refurbished Devices: Considerations and Roadblocks

Mike Brown | Strategic Director | Laptop Upcycle

Mike Brown is the Strategic Director for Laptop Upcycle and is one of it’s charter members. Laptop Upcycle is an all volunteer, non-profit community service organization and Mr Brown is responsible for all aspects of refurbishing donated laptops that are then given to local Middle school and High school students in need.

Laptop Upcycle trains local High School student volunteers to do the laptop refurbishment and is supported via tax deductible donations, small community grants, EBay parts resale and thousands of adult volunteers’ hours.

Laptop Upcycle was founded on the belief that ALL public school students should have access to the technology they need to succeed in school, regardless of their family income level. To date, more than 800 Students have received Laptops; more than 200 of which included free WIFI. Laptop Upcycle is expanding into other local townships and schools to replicate this success. | FB: laptopUpcycle |

Refugee Youth in NJ: Bridging the Digital Divide

Claire Balani | Education Programs Manager | New Jersey Office for Refugees | International Rescue Committee

Jas Verem | Education and Learning Supervisor | New Jersey Resettlement Office | International Rescue Committee

Claire Balani is the Education Programs Manager at the New Jersey Office for Refugees. She has over eight years of experience in program management, implementation and design in a variety of youth and adult education settings with immigrants and refugees, including study abroad, higher education, and refugee workforce development. Claire is working towards a master’s degree in the language and literacy program at The City College of New York. Her interests include supporting local restaurants and teaching adult ESL. DI is important because all refugee youth deserve equal access to remote learning in these challenging times.

Jas Verem is the Education and Learning Supervisor at the IRC Elizabeth, NJ office.  Jas oversees IRC NJ office’s youth and education programs, from K-12 school registration, youth mentoring, and ESL classes, to career preparedness programs.  Jas has been with the IRC since December 2019. Prior to his work at the IRC Jas has over 15 years of experience working in Higher Education setting in NJ. Jas has many interests from technology and soccer to food and travel. DI is important because it can be the one equalizer, especially for our clients that are just arriving and settling into the USA, and something that can facilitated easier and quicker integration into local community. |

Digital Inclusion in State Government

Katherine Bates | Manager of State and Local Partnerships | BroadbandUSA/NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce

Katherine Bates is the Manager of State and Local Partnerships at BroadbandUSA/NTIA. Before joining NTIA, her background was in community and economic development at the state and local level.

Katherine emphasizes that she “LOVE[s] LIBRARIES and the place they have in filling a digital inclusion need.”

When she retires, she plans to work at a library where she will help with digital skills and technology, and of course,  talk about books! |

The Town Hall: Opening the floor for 2-3 minute shares

To sign up to share, please click here.

Resources and Closing

DIPNJ Resources Page Tutorial Video

The NJ Community Resources Page

The NJ Free WiFi Map