University of Maryland Extension receives $6M in state funding to tackle digital divide, focus on digital literacy
MARYLAND – Having all communities across Maryland connected to the internet just got one step closer to becoming reality, as the University of Maryland Extension (UME) recently announced its $6 million award to address the digital divide in the state.
The funding is apart of a $300 million statewide effort by Governor Hogan to increase broadband access.
UME personnel say that the goal of the project is to close barriers to infrastructure, access, and affordability. We’re told those are just some of the biggest challenges many Marylanders face while trying to get connected.
Although this is a statewide program, we’re told it looks to target those disproportionately impacted including many rural communities across the Eastern Shore. “Some they don’t have internet providers in the area or some may have providers but the can not afford those services,” Project Lead Jinhee Kim said. “Navigators will be helping people where they are to connect with the proper device and service and then skills to connect with the digital world.”
Kim says that the funding awarded will be dedicated to increasing digital literacy and the new digital navigator program.
We’re told the $6 million awarded to UME is expected to sustain the department until the end of 2024.