Broward College will target 'digital divide' with $3m grant for broadband access
Broward College will use a new $3 million federal grant to invest in broadband access, as it seek to bridge the "digital divide" affecting minority communities in the area.
The donation is under the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program, which seeks to help historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) in expanding their broadband internet access and buying necessary equipment.
Kareen Torres, Broward College’s vice president of workforce education and innovation, said the grant money will go towards expanding access among the communities it serves.
“With this grant, Broward College is able to expand broadband adoption access capacities in our anchor communities, like our Broward North community, where the digital divide persists posing a barrier to social-economic progress,” said Torres.
She said that Broward College intends to use the grant to expand community technology hubs, upgrade classroom technology and increase digital literacy — all going towards providing better opportunities for their students.
“We will prepare residents to engage in the tech economy through digital literacy training and on the job training experiences,” said Torres. “Even through internships with Broward College.”
The program is a part of President Biden’s Internet for All Initiative which aims to improve access to reliable, high-speed internet across the country. The funding, on the other hand, came from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 which is working to expand internet access to eligible HBCUs, TCUs and MSIs.
Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, who presented the grant to the school, said investment in these programs could also help employment and, more widely, the economy.
“If we could actually have more continuing education programs, if we could bring more dollars in to create pipelines in every community so people can have access to jobs, we would start seeing a shift in our economy,” she said.
Broward College is one of two South Florida minority colleges to receive funding from the Connection Minority Communities Program. Miami-Dade College was the second recipient receiving a grant of $2.4 million.