Connect Westchester is Westchester County’s Office of Economic Development’s new initiative to bridge the digital divide through providing essential digital resources, education and affordable internet access to low-income residents. This new program will utilize partnerships with the STEM Alliance, The Westchester County Association, and the Westchester Library System to help all members of our community make a significant step towards achieving digital equity.
County Executive George Latimer said, “For a thriving community, digital literacy and internet access are not just luxuries; they are necessities. From online banking, to job applications, healthcare enrollment, and educational pursuits – those who lack access to the internet are at a disadvantage. Connect Westchester is a continuation of our efforts to level the playing field and increase equity for all.”
Senator Schumer said, “Hats off to Westchester County for taking Connect Westchester to the next level and further closing the digital divide. Affordable high-speed internet access is a necessity, not a luxury, and is essential for everything from work to school to healthcare, which is why I was proud to deliver the federal funding that seeded efforts in the Hudson Valley to close the digital divide.” Schumer added, “I am proud to have delivered federal funding to boost equitable broadband accessibility in Westchester County, and strongly support this county initiative to get closer to providing top notch broadband access to all communities.”
Westchester County Legislator and Chairman Vedat Gashi said, “In our interconnected world, access to information and education should be a right, not a privilege. The County Board of Legislators is proud to support this initiative and help bridge the digital divide.”
Westchester County Office of Economic Development Director Bridget Gibbons said, “A digitally skilled workforce is a necessary foundation for a thriving economy. We are laser-focused on ensuring Westchester is a place where everyone has the opportunity to find success and that no one is left behind.”
The STEM Alliance’s President, Margaret Käufer said, “Westchester County’s financial and programmatic commitment to this work is notable as one of the only Counties in the state creating a dedicated initiative to attend to the digital divide problem that became so apparent during the pandemic.”
WCA President & CEO, Michael N. Romita said, “Digital connectivity and access are fundamental for people and businesses to thrive in the new economy. This program is about individual empowerment, lifting up communities, and building a healthy economy. Westchester’s future looks bright with multiple stakeholders working together to advance digital equity across the region.”
Westchester Library System Executive Director Terry Kirchner said,“Libraries have been at the forefront of digital equity and access for decades. Connect Westchester is a welcome investment in our public libraries and amplifies our value as a trusted community resource that is available to everyone.”