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Monday, May 23 @ 1:00 PM - 2:30PM US Eastern Time

Free to Members | Nonmembers

On May 23, SIIA is planning its next virtual event that will focus on ways the United States is using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) funding to ensure we close the digital divide for students. In particular, the invited speakers will discuss how this critical funding opportunity can be used to upskill and prepare our next generation workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. The event will provide perspectives on how to better serve underrepresented rural and urban student communities with digital equity grants, across the K-12 and higher ed continuum.

The Diamond in the Rough: Chiseling 21st Century Learners in a Broadband-Enhanced World

Event Summary: In this third year of the pandemic, the United States has moved forward in ways it never knew it could. After passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last year in a historic leap of faith, the United States has shown it has the appetite, as well as the funding and the energy, to close the digital divide once-and-for all. Getting the details right is a telling exercise: the nation is working to ensure underrepresented communities in particular — across both rural and urban America — have access to affordable broadband and critical digital skills training. We take a closer look at how the United States is tackling the digital divide for its students, with an eye to understanding how the nation can seize this moment to support a more skilled youth, who are prepared for the jobs of tomorrow.

Event will include:

  • Pre-recorded remarks from members of Congress, who are shaping broadband priorities and working to close the digital divide;
  • A conversation with Larry Irving, who served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), first coined the phrase and produced the first empirical study of the “digital divide”; and
  • Panel discussing the advantages of closing the digital divide from an educational and workforce/upskilling perspective

Panel includes the following renowned speakers:

  • Michael Calabrese, Director of the Wireless Future Project and Senior Research Fellow, New America
  • Heather Gate, Vice President of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation and Chair, FCC Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC)
  • Rosemary Lahasky, Senior Director for Government Affairs, Cengage
  • Ji Soo Song, Broadband Advisor, U.S. Department of Education

Presented By


U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD)

chairman of the Senate Republican Conference from 2012-2018

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Nicole Ferraro

Site Editor of Broadband World News and Host of “The Divide”

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Larry Irving

Larry Irving is the President of the Irving Group

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Rosemary Lahasky

Senior Director, Government Affairs, Cengage Group

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Ji Soo Song

Broadband Advisor at U.S. Department of Education

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Heather Gate

Chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC)

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Michael Calabrese

Director, Wireless Future Program & Senior Research Fellow OTI, New America Foundation

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