Income inequality reduces opportunities for America’s low-income youth to attain many of the skills necessary to succeed in tech-driven industries. Santa Monica is targeting its most vulnerable youth by launching a program that requires active participation with technology and offers new skill development through projects that enhance the community.
Santa Monica’s digital inclusion pilot trains low-income students living in affordable housing units to become future civic technologists. The city provides free 10-gigabit broadband for each affordable housing community room, as well as training workshops, IT boot camps, and opportunities to assume citizen leadership roles by testing new “smart city” technology, sharing data, and participating in the management of the technology product lifecycle. The city has hired over 20 interns from the program.