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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ADE's Digital Empowerment Summit

I’ve been off my blogging game for the last couple of months. Incredibly busy, but that’s not a good enough excuse. As I return with some thoughts about an event I spoke at last week, I posted on Tutor.com’s blog first -- http://blog.tutor.com/2010/04/tutor-com-at-ades-digital-empowerment-summit/ . You may see more posts from me there instead of here, but I've pasted it here below as well…

As a young man, Julius Hollis experienced the power of access to education and tutoring. Mr. Hollis went on to become a highly successful banker and entrepreneur, and is now committing his valuable time and money to building the Alliance for Digital Equality, non-profit organization that helps bring the full power of information and education to underserved communities.
Last week, I joined ADE’s Digital Empowerment Summit as a panelist, in Newark, NJ. A thoroughly motivating day, we heard compelling appeals from current and former Mayors, business people, educators, and activists, that much more must be done to make the power of broadband more available and usable in urban communities.

Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker kicked off the summit with the story of Newark’s revival. He was followed by speeches and panel discussions featuring Shirley Franklin (a two-term Atlanta Mayor and now Senior Advisor for ADE), Manny Diaz (two terms as Miami Mayor, President of the US Conference of Mayors, and now Vice Chair of ADE), and Mignon Clyburn (Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission) among others.

The panel on which I participated was focused on wireless broadband access and its impact on education, health care, and public safety issues. Masterfully moderated by Mario Armstrong, who appears regularly on CNN and NPR as a technology expert and reporter. I made sure that the Newark and online audience (the event was broadcast live on ADE’s web site) was aware of HomeworkHelpNJ , which is a service underwritten by PSEG and Praxair, and provided by Tutor.com in partnership with the New Jersey State Library. HomeworkHelpNJ provides all students in Newark and over a dozen NJ communities with live one-to-one academic help seven days a week.

ADE’s mission to provide increased access to broadband services and infrastructure in urban underserved communities is a critical step in improving quality of life and career opportunities. Another necessary piece is the communication and training efforts that ensure that families, students, job seekers, entrepreneurs, and other members of the community are aware of and have the skills needed to take advantage of services like HomeworkHelpNJ.

Mr. Hollis’ work to create ADE’s Learning Without Walls initiative and Digital Empowerment Councils in major cities across the US is having a dramatic effect on youth and families, and we are proud to be active partners and supporters of ADE’s mission.

George Cigale, CEO and Founder, Tutor.com