Weekly Citizen: 5G and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Could Help End the Digital Divide

By Hazel Trice Edney, 4/8/22

The last two years have underlined what we already knew: the digital divide in America is real and has consequences for millions of Americans. An affordable, reliable connection is imperative in participating in the 21st century economy, and those families relying on mobile-only access are falling behind. Often, they cannot attend class online or seek a career opportunity that offers the possibility of working remotely. And as more services, job applications, and infrastructure moves online, the gap is only widening. 

Read the full article on Weekly Citizen here.

Innovating Women: Leading Midwest Tech into the Future

To close out Women’s History Month 2022, Verizon’s Nia Mathis spoke with Patty Hagen, T-REX; Elle Ramel, GET Cities Chicago; Michelle Reaves, Detroit Area Pre College Engineering Program (DAPCEP); and Marie Mackintosh, EmployIndy about creating intentional lanes for women and girls in tech – and ultimately how to create a more diverse workforce. Catch the replay below:

STEM and Gaming: How eSports Enables Education and Workforce Opportunities

Since 2004, the sySTEMnow Conference has become a cornerstone of STEM-related awareness in our region: Creating a forum for a timely discussion of STEM issues and ideas. This year, Verizon participated with a panel “STEM and Gaming: How eSports Enables Education and Workforce Opportunities” featuring Verizon’s Steven Shaw, Community Engagement Director, Verizon; Wendell Willis, Executive Director, Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation; Erica Davis, Project Manager, Experis; Brandon Tschacher, Connector, MKEsports Alliance; and Dr. Krista-Lee Malone, Faculty Associate, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Watch here:


On March 10th, TechRise, Verizon and 1871 hosted a virtual event for 300 people in Chicagoland’s tech community to talk about closing the resource gap facing Black and Latinx early stage founders in Chicago and solutions to close that gap. The event featured panelists and speakers from the Chicago tech community, Black and Latinx co-founders, and leaders from across the Chicago business community. Speakers included Verizon’s Nia Mathis and Steven Shaw, alongside former  Penny Pritzker; Sherrel Dorsey, The Plug; Betsy Ziegler, 1871; and many more.

Below is a summary video of the event, the full event video, and individual break out panels and speakers. To learn more about TechRise and its ongoing mission to support early stage founders in Chicago, visit www.techrise.co.

CBS Chicago: Exhibit Now At DuSable Museum Provides Virtual Reality Experience of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have A Dream’ Speech

We’re all familiar with the film of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reciting his “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, D.C. in 1963, but a new exhibit at the DuSable Museum will let you experience it as if you were there.

As CBS News’ Adriana Diaz reported, there were 250,000 people who were actually present for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom as Dr. King spoke. Now, almost 57 years later, you can be there too.ADVERTISING

At the DuSable Museum of African-American History, at 740 E. 56th Pl. in Washington Park, a new virtual reality exhibit called “The March” – created by Time Studios – allows visitors to time-travel nearly six decades.

View full article in CBS Chicago.

Responding to First Responders

Unfortunately, the biggest death and injury rate for first responders is traffic accidents. HAAS Alert, a Chicago-based cellular-vehicle communication company, is using technology to tackle this issue.  

Fire and police command centers, for example, work with the company to alert drivers when emergency vehicles are approaching. As Cory Hohs, CEO and Co-Founder of HAAS Alert told us, from the time a driver hears a siren or sees an emergency vehicle, they typically have about 2.6 seconds to react.

With 5G’s speed and latency, alerts from HAAS can move faster – giving drivers more time to react. “Every second is critical. That’s where you really start to see the power of 5G. … [If you can] give a second back to somebody, it really can save lives,” says Hohs.

Check out the latest video from Faces of 5G and then click here to learn more about Haas Alert.

Community Connection

Robert Johnson is making it his mission to support the development of entrepreneurs of color.

He recently started a social impact business incubator called The Collective. Located in the Bronzeville neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, his organization helps minority entrepreneurs grow, scale, and access resources.

Robert sees 5G as a huge opportunity to help bridge the gap among underserved communities. To ensure that happens, he says: “There’s a need to engage the community, bring the community together, and provide opportunities for those who have been left out, disenfranchised, and underinvested in.”

Check out the latest video from Faces of 5G.

The New Digital Economy

At Outlier Ventures in Chicago, Rumi Morales is focused on the creation of a new digital economy and knows that new and transformative businesses need 5G to succeed.

Rumi, who is a Partner at Outlier and Head of Venture, expanded on this at our recent event in Chicago, “5G in the Windy City.” We caught up with her before the event to talk about the impact she expects 5G to have on everything from the Internet of Things to artificial intelligence.

Here’s some of what she had to say:

“I cannot imagine, for example, many of the things that we’re talking about – whether it’s around bitcoin or whether it’s around AI – for those promises to become real without 5G. It touches so many parts of our future economy. 5G equals opportunity. 5G equals future economic growth. A lot can be missed if we don’t start investing in 5G now.”

For more from Rumi, check out the latest video from Faces of 5G and then click here to learn more about Outlier Ventures.

Originally posted on Faces of 5G. 

Latinos@Work: Connecting Chicago’s Latino Community to the Workforce of Tomorrow, Today

In the 21st century, digital literacy is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity. Every day, we’re becoming more reliant on technology to accomplish basic tasks, from making doctors’ appointments, to paying bills, to applying for jobs, to communicating with friends and family. The ability to use computers and access, create, and share digital content is critical to thriving at work and in our daily lives. More than 8 in 10 jobs require some level of digital competency. Yet, according to a Pew Research Center report, 10% of American adults say they do not use the internet. That figure is higher for Hispanics and seniors: 14% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. and 27% of those 65 and older say that they do not use the internet. Household income is also a factor affecting internet adoption. Adults from lower income households are more likely to be offline than more affluent adults.

Here in Chicago – despite being a hotspot for innovation where the growth rate of tech startups has nearly tripled over the past decade – many communities are faced with these issues of digital exclusion. For the city to thrive it is imperative to train and upskill the current workforce to meet tomorrow’s needs. To do this, Verizon and Unidos.US have joined forces to build digital learning centers in major cities, starting with Chicago. The Chicago center is located at Northwest Side Housing in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood and is equipped with mobile technology, an educational curriculum, and professional services to help program participants become digitally competent in the workplace. The centers will also offer child care and lunches for those enrolled. Verizon and UnidosUS will also launch similar learning centers in Lawrenceville, Massachusetts, Seattle, Washington, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

View full article in HispanicPro. 

Be a community partner.

Learn More

US Tech Future is a Verizon-led community-focused initiative working to engage the local community in a discussion about technology and how it can improve the lives of local residents for their benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.

Our mission is to engage with citizens and community stakeholders in USA to provide information on how technology can work to have a dramatic impact on the way we work and live in our communities.