Hola and Hello,
We hope this newsletter finds you in good health and high spirits. As advocates for digital literacy and equitable access to technology, we at AUTMHQ are excited to bring you the latest updates on improving broadband connection in Texas. In today's digital age, reliable and affordable internet access is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Join us as we explore the initiatives and developments aimed at bridging the digital divide in our great state.
—Texas Broadband Infrastructure Investment: Connecting Communities access to broadband internet is vitalfor education, economic growth, healthcare, and civic engagement. Recognizing the importance of this infrastructure, the state of Texas has allocated significant resources to improve broadband connectivity. The Texas Broadband Infrastructure Investment Fund has been established to expand high-speed internet access in underserved areas, ensuring that every Texan has the opportunity to thrive in the digital era. —Expanding Rural Broadband Access: Closing the Gap Rural communities often face unique challenges when it comes to broadband access. The Texas Rural Broadband Expansion Initiative has been launched to address this disparity. By leveraging public-private partnerships, this initiative aims to bring high-speed internet to unserved and underserved rural areas. It seeks to empower farmers, small businesses, and residents of these communities with the tools necessary to compete in the modern economy. —Digital Inclusion Programs: Empowering Communities Digital literacy and inclusion programs are crucial in ensuring that everyone can fully participate in the digital world. Organizations across Texas, including AUTMHQ, are working tirelessly to bridge the digital divide through various initiatives. From providing computer literacy training to low-income families to offering affordable internet options, these programs empower individuals with the skills and resources needed to thrive in an increasingly digital society. —Broadband Affordability: Making Accessible Connections While access to broadband is essential, affordability remains a barrier for many individuals and families. To address this issue, Texas has implemented initiatives such as the ConnectHome Texas program. By partnering with internet service providers, this program offers low-cost internet options to eligible households, ensuring that cost does not hinder digital access for those who need it most. —Future Prospects: 5G and Next-Generation Connectivity Texas is at the forefront of the technological revolution, and the advent of 5G technology promises to revolutionize connectivity. As we look to the future, the deployment of 5G networks across the state will enable faster speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity. This will unlock new opportunities for innovation, smart cities, and improved digital experiences, further bridging the digital divide in Texas. The efforts to enhance broadband connection in Texas are shaping a more inclusive and digitally empowered society. Through infrastructure investments, digital inclusion programs, and innovative connectivity solutions, we are working together to ensure that no Texan is left behind in the digital age. We encourage you to stay informed, engage with local initiatives, and support organizations like AUTMHQ as we strive towards digital equity for all. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to bridging the digital divide in Texas. Sincerely,
Michael Ward Jr. President and CEO Austin Urban Technology Movement
Texas House OKs $5 Billion for Broadband, if Voters Give Thumbs Up
The Texas House on Thursday moved one step closer toward investing $5 billion to expand internet availability across the state. Filed by Republican state Rep. Trent Ashby of Lufkin, House Bill 9 and the accompanying House Joint Resolution 125 would ask Texas voters in November whether the state can spend that historic amount and create the Texas Broadband Infrastructure Fund. The House approved Ashby’s bill 140-9 on Thursday. It now heads to the Senate. “This bill will have a measurable impact on each one of your districts,” Ashby said on the House floor. “No matter whether they be urban, suburban or rural.” The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the significant need for internet connectivity — nearly 7 million Texans don’t have reliable broadband service, if they are connected at all. In the last session, the state established the Broadband Development Office, which released its broadband development map earlier this year. The map shows internet speeds and availability across the state and will help determine which communities are eligible for grant funding.
ELEVATING THE HISPANIC COMMUNITY
Table of Experts: From Campus to the Workplace -- Austin Needs Equitable Opportunities to Elevate the Hispanic Community
Preparing to enter the workforce can be daunting, from choosing an area of interest to navigating higher education opportunities. We make these important and often financially-stressful decisions at a young age, making it critical to have access to information and support systems to lean on during the process. This can be especially challenging for Hispanic students who may be the first in their families to attend college, don’t have access to necessary resources or feel underrepresented on campus.
The Austin Business Journal recently sat down with a roundtable of experts to discuss their personal journeys and how Austin’s educational systems and employers can better support the Hispanic or Latino community, which makes up roughly 33% of the city’s population, according to the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Included in the discussion: Monica Muñoz Andry, President & CEO, Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Celia Israel, former State Representative; Johanna Moya Fábregas, Executive Director, Con Mi MADRE; Linda Medina-Lopez, Executive Director, Pflugerville Education Foundation; and Monique Jiménez- Herrera, Associate Vice President for Faculty Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, St. Edward’s University. Montserrat Fuentes, President of St. Edward’s University, served as moderator.
💵 Our last session is this Saturday! "Your Financial Journey" is taking place this weekend. We are going to look at and evaluate credit. We'll go through different ways to build credit, credit score ranges, and how credit scores are calculated. By the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of how credit works and how to build and use credit successfully. Join us on Saturday, May 24, 2023 10:00 AM (Online)!
ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH
Faith: Find your Voice, Use it to Strengthen your Community In this article from the Austin American-Statesman, Rev. Weylin Lee discusses how faith and community can give people the strength to advocate for themselves in the face of adversity. During Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, Rev. Lee uses this moment to reflect on history and his personal journey to where he is today. "How might each of us see or not see the value of our own voice? How might each of us offer our unique voice and story in our collective work of advocacy? And how might using that voice move us towards embodied justice and solidarity with the powerless? Sometimes it takes us finding our voice before we can start using our voice for the common good." The Rev. Weylin Lee is one of the pastors of Vox Veniae, a contemplative, liturgical church community in east Austin. Doing Good Together is provided by Interfaith Action of Central Texas, interfaithtexas.org.
📶 Reminder: The State of Texas needs your feedback! Texas Digital Opportunity Plan: Public Survey The State of Texas is designing solutions to ensure that all residents have access to high quality and affordable internet service, devices, skills training, and digital support. This 10-minute Digital Equity survey will gather information about your current experiences using the internet and should be completed by one individual per household. Your comments are vital to understanding barriers to internet access, affordability, and adoption, to help close the digital divide. The survey is available in four languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. You can select the language of your choice from the top-right corner of this page. You can also choose to listen to each question (and its answer options, where applicable) in your chosen language by clicking on the audio button next to each question.
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