Miami/ Politics & Govt
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Published on June 03, 2024
Miami-Dade County Secures Over $13.5 Million in Federal Grants to Enhance Digital Literacy and Broadband AccessSource: Unsplash/ Glenn Carstens-Peters

Miami-Dade County is firmly planting its flag in the digital age, banking over $13.5 million in federal grants to blast open the doorways to the internet for its residents. The grant, aimed to improve digital literacy and services, was snagged through a collaboration between the County’s Local Technology Planning Team (LTPT) and the Florida Commerce Office of Broadband. As stated by County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, "When our community has the necessary resources to engage in the innovation economy, we cultivate opportunity and growth," according to a Miami-Dade government release.

The cash injection is set to quickly breathe new life into various community projects, with centers like Centro Campesino Community Center, Miami Dade College, and the SEEK Foundation each landing a cool $4 million to kick-start their digital endeavors. It's a financial windfall that Francesca de Quesada Covey, Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer, emphasized will help to not just improve, but to fundamentally transform Miami-Dade's economy "from the ground up." Covey made it clear, broadband isn’t a luxury—it’s a must-have for business and innovation to thrive. She highlighted that robust digital infrastructure is akin to a golden ticket for entrepreneurial success in the modern world.

On the community level, Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, President/CEO of The Miami Foundation, shares hard numbers showcasing the program's growth since inception. “Four years ago, we committed to connecting 60,000 families to broadband internet throughout Greater Miami. Today, that number is 189,185," she said, marking progress that overshadowed original expectations. Miami-Dade's government release relays Lipsey's affirmation of the continued fight for digital equity and inclusion.

The accolades don't stop with the hefty grant. Miami-Dade also netted the CIO 100 Award, flaunting tech innovation in local government. The award recognizes the county’s efforts to utilize cutting-edge technology to build a nimbler, more responsive government especially through data mapping solutions to target broadband expansion in areas of highest need. "Utilizing new tech solutions to drive community action enriches economic opportunities and quality of life in our historically marginalized neighborhoods," Chief Information Officer and Director of the Miami-Dade County IT Department Margaret Brisbane explained, lauding the investments as a key to ensuring an inclusive future for county residents.

These steps are vast but they are critical cogs in Florida’s ambition to shrink the digital divide and boost the state’s standing in a global, tech-dependent economy. The LTPT's more than 200 organizations pull together to map out the path forward – pinpointing underserved areas, assisting with federal grant applications and wrestling with the beast of inadequate broadband deployment. With the help of initiatives like Miami Connected, Miami-Date aims to become the most technologically inclusive county nationwide, providing not just connectivity, but also training and tech career pathways for its denizens.