Equity. It is a term heard a lot these days. And yet, if you ask 10 people what it means, you might get 10 different answers. As OCG prepares for our 2020 Summit, “Equity in Action: Stories of Innovation & Collaboration” we are pleased to share with you how different members of our community understand, and most importantly, put into practice, equity. Together, we can move Orange County forward, implementing and aligning with the 10 +1 next steps as recommended in the OC Equity Profile.
Our fifth blog post comes from Cox Communications, Presenting Sponsor of the OCG 2020 Summit. They share a post by Colleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs on how they are working to bridge the digital divide.
Cox Communications’ Commitment to Bridge the Digital Divide
By Colleen Dillaway, Director of Public Affairs, Cox Communications
#NowMoreThanEver, it’s everyone’s job to keep connecting
One way that we’ve connected with the education community this year was by granting $50,000 in Innovation in Education grants to local school districts and the Orange County Department of Education. The grant program was originally established in 2014 to support teachers at eligible schools who were enhancing the traditional classroom experience by providing creative and technology-based curriculum for their students but this year we looked at the education landscape and awarded school districts in order to support their tech needs as they prepared to go back-to-school virtually amid the pandemic. Since its inception, Cox has awarded over $300,000 in grants to help fund technology and innovative programs for students in grades K-12.
“We are extremely grateful to Cox Communications for continuing to make valuable investments in our schools and students through the Innovation in Education initiative,” said Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares. “Across the state, educators are working hard to provide robust distance learning with limited resources. This latest round of grant funding will help OCDE acquire essential Chromebooks and iPads to support students in our Deaf and Hard of Hearing program with both online learning and in-person instruction.”
We’re helping where we can, and where we know it counts. Cox Business in Orange County recently worked with the Orange County Rescue Mission to increase their bandwidth to support students distance learning this fall and provided the organization with six new laptop devices to help bridge the digital divide.
Additional offerings to bridge the digital divide and support digital equity
We know that a high-speed internet connection is the cornerstone to the digital classroom. That’s why throughout the pandemic, Cox has implemented several programs to help families connect from home. Recently, the company announced a new offer for new qualifying families who sign up before December 31 to receive Connect2Compete, our low-cost internet program, free for 2 months including free remote technical support just in time for back-to-school. Families who have K-12 students on the free or reduced lunch program, or any of several other federal assistance programs, can qualify for Connect2Compete easily from their mobile device or desktop by visiting www.cox.com/c2c.
Cox Communications’ President and CEO Pat Esser also announced in a live press conference on September 29 that that Cox will pledge $60 million over the next year to close the digital learning gap. Pat urged in the press conference the need for collaboration to solve the digital divide.
“Our commitment remains strong, but we cannot do this alone. We need to keep partnering with cities, school districts, counties and community-based organizations to get families connected,” said Pat. “Connection is more important than ever before, especially for kids.” Further, Cox is powering a new digital learning platform available to Connect2Compete customers to keep kids engaged in academics. MyFuture is The Boys & Girls Club of America’s digital platform that empowers children and teens to learn new skills, share accomplishments and earn recognition and rewards via gamification in a safe and fun online environment. Customers can easily access this tool in Cox’s Digital Academy, an online learning platform full of computer literacy tips, educational videos, tutorials and interactive games.
The Cox Connect2Compete program is available to families who:
- have at least one child that is a K-12 student at home
- participate in one of these government subsidies programs: The National School Lunch Program, SNAP, TANF, Head Start, WIC, LIHEAP, or Public Housing
To help parents help their children learn from home, Cox has provided several tips and resources available on the company’s content hub Converge. Click here to learn more.
For more information on Cox’s coronavirus relief efforts, visit cox.com.
Colleen Dillaway is Director of Public Affairs for Cox Communications in California.