Jun 11, 2024

Miami-Dade County receives over $13.5 million to improve digital equity in rural communities


Miami-Dade County has received over $13.5 million in digital equity grant funding as part of the Florida Commerce Office of Broadband’s first round of subgrants to renovate and construct multi-purpose community buildings with the goal of enhancing access and resources for health monitoring, work and education in rural communities.

Miami-Dade County Information Technology Department (ITD)’s Local Technology Planning Team (LTPT) worked with The Miami Foundation and Miami Connected to receive this funding for six community partners to improve neighborhood facilities that provide residents with much needed digital literacy and internet services.

Miami Connected launched in the spring of 2021 as a three-year initiative with the goal of supporting 60,000 families to bridge the digital divide. Their approach to addressing the divide is holistic, beginning with a focus on internet connectivity and progressing all the way to careers in technology. Miami Connected is an effort to bring no-cost broadband internet service, digital skills training, and career opportunities in technology to students and their families in Miami-Dade County. Currently, more than one in five Miami-Dade County residents are disconnected from the internet, and Miami is the second least-connected large city in the United States.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

“Access to broadband connectivity is a priority to make our community future ready, and it must be available to all just like water and electricity,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “To achieve this, we are fostering community partnerships and paving the way towards a more connected and empowered Miami-Dade. I am committed to making sure that opportunity reaches every neighborhood and every resident in our county.”

Among the grantees, Miami Connected and the LTPT supported the following projects where the impact will be felt as early as fall 2024:

  • Centro Campesino Community Center granted $4,000,000
  • Miami Dade College (POWER) granted $4,000,000
  • SEEK Foundation (SMART TECH Health Hub) granted $4,000,000 (Read full article here.)
  • CareerSource South Florida, in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Public Library System, granted $1,247,397
  • Bridge to Hope granted $321,075
  • Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired granted $177,835

For the second round of subgrant funding from Florida Commerce, the LTPT is supporting eight applications that will impact areas in most need. The grants and programs supported by the LTPT will ensure that these communities receive services from CareerSource South Florida workforce support, computer devices and training, to reliable broadband and internet access.

Margaret Brisbane

“Technology connects us to the world, education, jobs, and most importantly, to each other,” said Margaret Brisbane, Information Technology Department Director and Chief Information Officer of Miami-Dade County. “When our community has the necessary resources to engage in the digital economy, we cultivate opportunity and growth. This synergy fosters new innovation and solutions, enriching our economy in a more inclusive and dynamic manner. Investments of this magnitude secure resources that ignite the path towards a more inclusive future.”

These grants advance Miami-Dade County’s, launched last year in partnership with the Miami Foundation and Miami Connected as part of Mayor Levine Cava’s strategic commitment to bridging the digital divide to ensure County residents have access to fast, affordable and reliable internet access.

Francesca de Quesada Covey

“As we continue to invest in broadband expansion, we recognize that access to high-speed internet is not just a convenience but an economic necessity. In today’s innovation-driven economy, entrepreneurship and innovation thrive where there is robust digital infrastructure. By ensuring every corner of Miami-Dade has access to broadband, we are laying the foundation for a strong economy that benefits all residents,” emphasized the Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer Francesca de Quesada Covey.

“Four years ago, we committed to connecting 60,000 families to broadband internet throughout Greater Miami. Today, that number is 189,185,” remarked Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, President/CEO of The Miami Foundation. “We are proud to stand with Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, non-profit partners and allies in our collective effort to achieve digital equity. Together, we forge ahead in our unwavering dedication to creating a more connected and inclusive community. We are not finished yet.”

Connectivity and accessibility are necessary for our communities to thrive. By leveraging the County’s comprehensive Geospatial Information system (GIS) analytics and diverse datasets, the Information Technology Department developed the Broadband and Digital Equity Data Mapping Solution tool to identify opportunity zones for broadband expansion. The Broadband and Digital Equity Data Mapping Solution tool was awarded the CIO 100 Award for its sophistication and effectiveness for broadband expansion where 89% of families have reported increased opportunities.

For more information, visit the Broadband and Digital Equity website or contact Eileen Hernandez.