Effort to close the digital divide and connect Kansas City hits new stride

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In foreground is new performing arts center; Bartle Hall is to left, Sprint Center is tto right, and Missouri River can be seen in background.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The effort to connect, and eliminate, the digital divide is underway in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Digital KC NOW initiative launched in Kansas City Thursday. The people and companies involved will work to make sure everyone in Kansas City has equitable internet access, including neighborhoods and businesses in the urban core.

But the initiative won’t stop with making the internet available.

“Connecting businesses and residents to the internet in underserved communities is a fundamental step in providing an infrastructure of equity and opportunity,” Melissa Robinson, 3rd District councilwoman, said. “Educating people on how to use the internet is key to improving quality of life for our residents.” 

Robinson addressed the need of also teaching people how to use the internet. Much of that effort will fall on the shoulders of a Kansas City non profit called aSTEAM Village.

The organization works to get kids interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

Through the Digital KC NOW initiative, aSTEAM Village will hire, train and mentor young people from the urban core. The idea is that if the students are trained and confident in their skills, it will put them on the path to be more successful in their lives and careers.

“I am proud as somebody from this community to have aSTEAM Village here. I’m proud of the folks who helped clear paths for me and we’re helping clear paths for so many into the future,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

The city outlined its entire effort in the Digital Equity Strategic Plan.

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