Bell announces federal broadband grant

BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - The city of Birmingham has received a $458,000 federal grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to bring youth technology training to help bridge the digital divide, boost economic growth, create jobs and improve education and healthcare in the region.

Mayor William Bell, along with Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon and Maynard Scarborough with One Economy Corporation announced the funding at a press conference at Birmingham City Hall on Monday morning.

"Bridging the digital divide is critical for our children to be able to compete in the global market," Bell said. "This is a first step in helping our students get the access they need to be successful."

One Economy Corporation, a global non-profit, will launch one Digital Connectors program in Birmingham, leveraging the technological talents of young people to assist in the training and technical assistance needed to help undeserved and underserved communities transition and maximize in the digital economy.

Bell hopes the initial money will act as "magnet funds" to attract an additional $10 million from private sector foundations to expand wi-fi connections and close the digital gap.

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