Webinar: Bridging the Digital Divide: Review of a Successful Program Model and Lessons Learned

With the recent launch of ConnectHome, much attention has been directed at Austin, which was named a “mentor city” for this program. Join us for a conversation about Unlocking the Connection, an initiative underway in Austin aiming to bridge the digital divide for the more than 4,300 public housing residents, and learn about how the lessons learned can be applied elsewhere.

Unlocking the Connection is a collaborative effort that was launched by the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) and its nonprofit Austin Pathways in November of 2014, aimed at providing free basic Internet access; a continuum of digital literacy programs that are linguistically, culturally, and age-appropriate; and the opportunity for every HACA household to earn a refurbished computer device. Google Fiber’s commitment to help HACA’s residents get connected helped inspire more than twenty partners to sign on, including Austin Community College, Austin Free-Net, and many others.

This webinar will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about this program model, as well as some of the successes and challenges that it has experienced over the last year and a half of implementation to help inform your own organization’s efforts.

This webinar is part of NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship program, aimed at supporting digital inclusion initiatives, sharing best practices, and showcasing digital inclusion programs. You do not need to be a Fellow to attend; all are invited.

Speaker: Parisa Fatehi-Weeks
Parisa Fatehi-Weeks is Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber. Parisa previously served as staff attorney at Public Advocates, a nonprofit civil rights law firm in San Francisco, where she advocated for greater access to affordable housing and public transit for low-income communities and communities of color. Prior to that, she served as a law clerk to federal Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore, and a Management Fellow in the Austin City Manager’s Office. Her prior experience also includes time in Washington, D.C., where she worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on greenhouse gas emission reduction. She currently serves as a Mayoral appointee to the City's Urban Renewal Board, on the Board of Directors for nonprofit Proyecto Defensa Laboral (Workers Defense Project), and the University of Texas’ Advisory Council for the Texas Union. She is a graduate of UT-Austin, where she was student body president and received her B.A., J.D. and Master’s in public affairs.
Speaker: Catherine Crago
Ms. Crago is head of strategic initiatives and resource development. She started her career in the semiconductor industry, focused on public private research partnerships aimed at giving the U.S. a global competitive advantage. For more than 10 years, Ms. Crago helped state agencies and local governments assess the business case for digital inclusion, to enhance revenue, support emergency preparedness and to promote equity in diverse communities. She has consulted with consortia about how digital tools and practices can “level the playing field” for all investors, and with corporations about how to use digital tools to manage distributed engineering teams in diverse locations. Previously, she was a senior manager in strategic cost management at Andersen Consulting. She serves on the Board of Advisors and lectures in the University of Texas M. Sc. In the Human Dimensions of Organizations and serves on the advisory boards of SXSW Interactive Festival and GlobalAustin. Ms. Crago is a recipient of the Texas Diversity Council DiversityFIRST award for work in diversity and inclusion. Ms. Crago holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Texas at Austin and has lived and worked in Belgium, the Netherlands, Korea and Taiwan.