The Seattle City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 26 to approve the Great Student Initiative (Resolution 31328). Sponsored by Councilmember Bruce Harrell, the Great Student Initiative will serve as a model for the nation in bringing together and maximizing public-private partnerships to help students and families acquire broadband Internet access and technology skills training.
The program will help approximately 16,000 of the 47,000 students in Seattle Public Schools on the free lunch program. Only 46 percent of households in Seattle with incomes averaging under $30,000 receive high-speed Internet access.
“The information and communication technology job sector contributes over $3.5 billion to Seattle’s economy and information technology job growth is projected at 22 percent in this decade, one of the fastest and more sustainable job industries,” said Harrell. “We must equip children from all backgrounds with tools to access online educational resources to compete in this global economy driven by technology, science, engineering, and mathematics. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 77 percent of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills.”
Data from the Federal Reserve show students without home Internet access have a high school graduation rate six to eight percentage points lower than students who have access in their homes.
Through the Comcast Internet Essentials program, students on the national free lunch program will have access to $9.95/month Internet service and a $150 Netbook computer. (end)
For more information, visit www.seattle.gov.