The $50 million Chicago Connected program will provide the free internet service to approximately 100,000 CPS students over the course of four years.
Mayor Lightfoot said it is one of the largest and longest-term programs of its kind
“Reliable, high-speed internet is one of the most powerful equalizers when it comes to accessing information,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “It allows families to access digital remote learning and stay connected to family near and far, especially during COVID-19. It allows families to build career skills, apply for jobs, register to vote and stay up-to-date on current events. This program is a critical component of our STEP agenda and the efforts to end poverty and a part of our mission to drive improved academic outcomes at CPS.”
Chicago Connected will begin outreach to families next week, with the goal of connecting as many of the students as possible before the start of the 2020-21 school year.
“Inequitable access to the Internet is a nationwide issue and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that internet service can no longer be viewed as a luxury,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “To build on our students’ academic progress, we are launching an unprecedented effort to provide stable, high-speed internet access to 100,000 CPS students over the next four years. This ambitious and critical undertaking would not be possible without the generous support of the philanthropic community.”
The program is being made possible by donations from philanthropic partners including Ken Griffin, Crown Family Philanthropies, Illinois Tool Works, the Pritzker Trabuert Foundation, the JPB Foundation and the Joyce Foundation. There will also be a joint commitment from President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The Chicago Community Trust to the Children First Fund to support community-based organizations on the South Side.
“Michelle and I want every kid in Chicago to grow up knowing even better opportunities than we had – and that requires full and equitable access to the best tools and resources. We’re happy to help Chicago Connected reach every kid in the city. This is where I found a purpose and a family – and it’ll always be our home.” – President Barack Obama
In addition to donations, $5 million from the CARES Act will go toward the program. The donations will cover the first two years of the program, with CPS paying for years three and four.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.
Website of source