San Francisco Closing Digital Divide – Microsoft Style

Microsoft has partnered with San Francisco on a technology grant, bringing computers and software to underserved students involved in the Bridge to Success Summer ProgramIn an era where – we believe – personal access to computers and the Internet is akin to a civil right, San Francisco has partnered with Microsoft in an effort to close the “digital divide” that threatens to leave so many San Franciscans behind.

Announced today by Mayor Ed Lee, Microsoft is providing a technology grant that will bring $500,000 in software and $15,000 towards computers to San Francisco. The new technology will be available to those “historically underrepresented, low-income and first generation SFUSD high school graduates” taking part in San Francisco’s Bridge to Success Summer Program, a first time program.

The grant from Microsoft will also enable the Bridge to Success Summer Program’s top students to receive a laptop and will also ensure that more schools and teachers in the SFUSD get the software they need.

San Francisco is the purported capital of the digital economy but has fallen short in closing the digital divide.

In order for San Francisco to continue to grow our workforce in the 21st century economy, we need to make sure the next generation of leaders and workers has the online tools they need to succeed. 

How can we expect our students to graduate high school if they lack today’s basic means of researching and getting information? How can we expect them to do well in college if they don’t have a way to sign up for classes online? And how can we expect them to get jobs – in this, of all job markets – if they can’t so much as log on to Monster.com?

We can’t.

If the old idiom that we are only as strong as the weakest link is true then we cannot have any weak links (and we don’t mean hyperlinks – sorry, tech joke). The digital divide needs to be addressed throughout our globalized world and it needs to be closed in San Francisco.

With this new grant, we took one small step towards that aim.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and join the conversation on Facebook.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137