In order to be a contributing member of society you're going to need internet access, especially now that COVID-19 has limited access to public resources and forced many work and school activities into our homes. For many Americans access to the internet is still a daily struggle; according to a 2019 report from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) there are currently 21,300,000 people without internet access in the United States. A lack of internet access makes it hard to find a job, feel connected with the modern world, and stay educated on major factors of our rapidly changing world.
An investment in broadband access has been proven to increase income and employment growth in areas with a high density population (Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb and Shane Greenstein 2012). It's estimated that currently 15 percent of Kansas City residents do not have access to broadband internet connection (The Kansas City Coalition for Digital Inclusion).
Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas (Goodwill) is a nonprofit which provides workforce development services. In 2019, we served over 3,500 people, many whom had significant barriers to employment. We frequently serve individuals who lack a device or consistent internet access, and some need basic literacy training to be prepared for employment. Goodwill knows the City shares its passion for this issue; for example, a resolution supporting public private partnerships toward digital inclusion recently passed the full City Council. We ask that Kansas City continue its work toward digital inclusion, including facilitating free or low cost access to broadband and devices, and providing resources for experienced providers to offer digital literacy classes.