(Washington, DC) – Today, the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) announced its “Get Connected” campaign, an exciting new outreach initiative, to raise public awareness in the District of Columbia of the benefits of having access to technology in the home and connect families to the information, resources and services they need. OCTO has teamed up with EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit, and eight community leaders to help families on the other side of the digital divide get online and gain basic digital skills. The campaign will run for three months and utilizes local papers, public transit, mobile, social media and direct mail as well as placement of posters in public libraries, recreation centers and other public venues--primarily in Wards 5, 7 and 8.
The “Get Connected” campaign was developed and produced in-house by Connect.DC, OCTO's digital inclusion program, with a goal to provide District residents with technology-related inspiration and information from trusted community leaders. These trusted community voices are carrying the message that home Internet access is highly relevant to improving the everyday lives of residents with quotes like "being connected to the Internet empowers parents to build a better future for their children” and “being connected to the Internet is giving DC residents an opportunity to build careers.”
“As technologists, we know that digital tools and literacy lead to improved outcomes in areas such as employment, education, health and civic engagement," said Rob Mancini, Chief Technology Officer. "This campaign is an exciting opportunity to leverage the respect of local leaders to draw attention to these tremendous outcomes at the neighborhood level."
Local community leaders highlighted in the campaign include:
• Victor Battle, Workforce Development Specialist, DC Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (ORCA)
• Raymond Bell, Founder, The H.O.P.E. Project
• Jesse L. Bemley, Ph.D, Founder, Joint Educational Facilities, Inc.
• Marla Bilonick, Director of Small Business Development, Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC)
• Sybongile Cook, Program Manager, Bank on DC
• Kelley Ellsworth, Executive Director, Byte Back
• Linda Fisher, Executive Director, Rockson Community Development Corporation
• Dana Jones, President & CEO, United Planning Organization (UPO)
Campaign materials direct residents to call 311, text CONNECT to 83224 or visit www.connect.dc.gov for information on discounted computer and Internet offers--such as Comcast's $9.99 Internet Essentials special.
“Together with our partners, we are bridging the digital divide in DC through improved access, training opportunities and community outreach,” said Delano Squires, Connect.DC Director. “We created these ads to connect residents to new computer and Internet offers that are affordable and easy to integrate into their households."
The campaign is one piece of a larger initiative to connect everyone in the city to technology, no matter the Ward, and move the District of Columbia toward a more informed and inclusive community through digital citizenship.
Connect.DC was established by the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) of the District of Columbia Government to draw attention to the advantages of technology and collaborate with government, nonprofit and corporate entities to advance citywide broadband access and education initiatives. Connect.DC is funded by a combination of OCTO resources and two American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants—State Broadband Initiative (SBI) and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)—through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the United States Department of Commerce.
Jill Melnicki (202) 442-3201