Even as the promise of the connected home becomes reality for many of us, millions of Americans still have limited access to the high-speed broadband service that opens the door to opportunity. To help bridge this digital divide, Best Buy will offer the expertise of its talented employees and community outreach programs in a new ConnectHome initiative announced today by President Obama and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro.
The pilot program is launching in 27 cities and one tribal nation to initially reach more than 275,000 low-income households and nearly 200,000 children with the support they need to access the Internet at home. Internet Service Providers, non-profits and the private sector will offer broadband access, technical training, digital literacy programs and devices for residents in assisted housing units. Best Buy will be an integral partner by providing on-the-ground technical skills and digital literacy training.
“At Best Buy, we believe we have a responsibility to share our knowledge and resources to help underserved populations experience the benefits of technology,” said Susan Bass Roberts, head of Community Relations/Diversity & Inclusion at Best Buy. “By participating in the ConnectHome initiative, we can ensure these families and children have the skills they need to make the most of internet access.”
Best Buy will conduct 20-30 Geek Squad Academy tech education programs in cities nationwide with specific outreach to teens in public housing communities, including the Choctaw Tribal Nation. Digital literacy training also will be provided to families and teens in select HUD communities, along with free ongoing afterschool tech education programs for teens participating in ConnectHome at Best Buy Teen Tech Centers in Atlanta, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, San Antonio and Washington, D.C.
This newest national initiative further extends Best Buy’s growing grassroots efforts to support underprivileged young people by giving them access to the opportunities that technology can provide, helping build their technology skills and prepare for future careers. This summer, thousands of teens are benefiting from 30 Geek Squad Academy camp sessions being held across the U.S. And year-round, the expanding national network of Best Buy Teen Tech Centers is a safe place where teens can develop technology skills through hands-on activities such as coding, robotics, filmmaking, music production and mobile application development.