The “American Dream” is built on the idea that with hard work, upward mobility and success are possible. In our ever evolving and technology dependent society, digital skills and broadband access are necessary tools for achievement.
However, more than 24 million people living in the U.S., including 19 million in rural communities, do not have access to broadband, also known as high speed internet. That leaves a large portion of today’s teens locked out when it comes to high speed internet. This essential service in today’s economy impacts everything from children’s education to their future economic mobility.
Recent research shows that overall, teens without broadband access feel less equipped online with it comes to connecting, creating and learning. The research also shows:
Almost half of teens surveyed said they’ve struggled to complete homework due to slow internet connections
Teens without broadband are less optimistic about their social mobility for higher education & careers
43% of rural teens surveyed plan to leave their hometowns and 34% of those teens cite poor internet connectivity as the reason; which means these towns are losing talent and future innovation.
As leaders in positive youth development, National 4-H Council partnered with Microsoft on the 4-H Tech Changemakers program. The initiative is aimed at closing the connectivity gap in rural areas by empowering teens to bring technology and digital skills to their communities. The program works to position digital skills as a valuable life skill that’s necessary for improving non-urban communities’ path towards economic mobility.
The 4-H Tech Changemakers are working with broadband service providers throughout the U.S., along with community members and civic leaders to help teens gain the digital skills needed to benefit from technology and high-speed connectivity, which includes everything from online safety to computer basics and device training.
On Friday, April 24, join members of the 4-H Tech Changemakers to learn more about the programs being implemented, how they’re helping to bridge this technological gap and make sure that all community members across the country have the tools and skills they need to achieve the American dream.