Image courtesy of the NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/us/19mesa.html
Image courtesy of the NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/19/us/19mesa.html

Communities are the centers of our social, professional and family lives, providing support and resources for our day to day existence.  To develop and maintain these functions, communities must be connected to the internet and able to implement digital technologies effectively.  Communities in which everyone has an internet connection and digital skills can build stronger futures and healthier families.  They can  construct a community built on a foundation of digital equity.

How do internet connectivity and digital skills facilitate these outcomes?

Connection and skills advance educational achievement   Connection and skills give students of all ages access to better learning resources, continuous educational support, and more advanced classes. As a result, they complete high school more successfully and enter college or workforce training programs more easily, while gaining skills with the technologies that will help them find good jobs and excel professionally.

Connection and skills increase household incomes  Connection and skills raise workforce entrance levels, improve professional skills, and increase earnings potential.  Employees with connection and skills earn more, advance more quickly, and are better prepared to transition to other positions.

Connection and skills enhance community quality   The higher educational and employment levels that individuals with internet connection and digital skills enjoy extends expendable income and increases the local tax base. As a result, local businesses experience greater sales and community improvements, such as  libraries, parks, and senior centers, can become a reality.

Connection and skills improve health and safety  Connection and skills improve community health by providing better access to online health care through telemedicine services, better communication with physicians, and remote monitoring of medications and medical devices. Communities that are connected can also utilize online communication safety networks, receive public safety alerts and coordinate first responder activities.