The Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) at Fresno State, in conjunction with campus and regional partners, was awarded a $600,000 grant from the California Emerging Technology Fund’s (CETF’s) Get Connected! program to increase Internet usage throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Get Connected! is designed to help the state achieve its goals to close the digital divide and connect Californians to the Internet. Through a variety of partner organizations, computer training will be provided to individuals throughout the Valley, in addition to assistance in subscribing to the Internet at home.

Partners include the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, San Joaquin Valley Regional Broadband Consortium, San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center, the Fresno State Office of the Vice President of Administration, Radio Bilingüe, Reading and Beyond, iFoster, Fresno Unified School District, Community Services Employment Training (CSET) and the Stride Center.

“As Internet usage and technology become further integrated in to our daily lives, it is critical that San Joaquin Valley residents are not left behind,” said Mike Dozier, OCED executive director. “In closing the digital divide, this strategic effort to increase broadband adoption will help our region remain economically competitive and will help promote increased educational opportunities, e‐commerce, business development, and improve overall quality of life in our region,” Dozier said.

Superintendent Michael Hanson of the Fresno Unified School District said community partnerships are working in efforts to close the digital divide for families facing financial difficulty.

“To date, our partnership with Comcast and Radio Bilingüe has led to more than 4,700 of our families signing up for this low-cost Internet service to give their children broadband access,” said Hanson. “We look forward to continuing this work with the support of CETF and our partner organizations.”