Secretary Jake Day Celebrates Digital Inclusion Week at Baltimore City’s Digital Equity Resource Fair
Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development announced award of 30,000 laptops to Baltimore City, Enoch Pratt Free Library
BALTIMORE, MD (October 2, 2023) – Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Secretary Jake Day celebrated National Digital Inclusion Week at Baltimore City’s Digital Equity Resource Fair, hosted by Baltimore City Information and Technology (BCIT) and Enoch Pratt Southeast Anchor Library. Secretary Day announced the state’s award of more than 30,000 laptops to Baltimore City and its community partner Enoch Pratt Free Library at the event, where eligible residents were receiving the devices and other resources. The laptops were among more than 91,000, valued at $18.7 million, awarded to 14 local governments and their partners for distribution to underserved households in communities throughout Maryland. At least 50,000 more devices are being awarded statewide following a second application round that closed September 29 and drew applications from 16 jurisdictions.
“Across the state, there are hundreds of thousands of Marylanders whose entire economic future will be either limited–or unlocked–by whether or not they have access to affordable internet,” said Secretary Jake Day. “The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is proud to work with Baltimore City and Pratt Library to distribute 30,000 devices to get more Marylanders online–a crucial step in our work to close the digital divide.”
The Digital Equity Resource Fair marked the first day of National Digital Inclusion Week (October 2-6), which raises awareness on the importance of access to technology and promotes digital equity. Secretary Day was joined by Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott, the city’s Chief Information and Digital Officer Todd Carter, BCIT Director of Broadband and Digital Equity Kenya Asli, and Enoch Pratt Chief of Marketing, Communications, & Strategy Meghan McCorkell, as well as partners, including HP, that participated to share additional resources and information with attendees.
“Closing the digital divide is one of the most important steps our community must take to improve equity in our city,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “So much of the battle in addressing this issue is access and affordability, and with these 30,000 Chromebooks, our city is poised to help tackle both for so many families. With this technology, we can help these families be better connected and ensure students are gaining the skills they’ll need to be successful in the digital age. I cannot thank our partners enough for their collaboration in this effort and their dedication to closing Baltimore’s digital divide for good.”
The Digital Equity Resource Fair also offered assistance with setting up the devices and information to connect residents to other resources online.
“We are proud to be working with our state and city partners to make sure these devices get into the hands of the people who need them the most,” said Pratt Library CEO Heidi Daniel. “But we know that providing access is not enough. That is why the Pratt Library also provides free technology training and support for customers across Baltimore City to help people meet their goals.”
The devices being provided through the Office of Statewide Broadband are part of an effort to ensure Marylanders have the technology to access reliable, high-speed internet. To learn more about the Office of Statewide Broadband, please visit https://dhcd.maryland.gov/Broadband/Pages/default.aspx.