Austin Digital Assessment Arrives in Austin Mailboxes

Residents Who Receive the Survey Are Asked To Respond Online or by Mail

The City of Austin and its research partner, the University of Texas at Austin – Telecommunications and Information Policy Institute have implemented the third iteration of the Austin Digital Assessment survey. The survey will evaluate and assess residents’ access to technology resources and literacy and training programs, and to identify unmet needs and barriers.The Austin Digital Assessment delves into many elements of society including education, health care, civic engagement, job opportunities and social connections in Austin, including:

  • Access: What is the availability of technology to Austin residents? Are the available options affordable in Austin? What inclusion options are available for all Austin residents?
  • Adoption: What type of digital technologies do Austin residents need? Do residents have the training to maximize available digital technologies?
  • Application: How many people use digital technologies to improve their employment skills? What types of education and supportive services will Austin residents need?

Responses are confidential and will inform future decisions that ensure every Austin resident has an opportunity to be fully engaged in digital society, accessing and using digital and communications technology in Austin. If you receive the survey, please complete and return it in the postage paid envelope by April 6, 2018. You can take the online version of the survey here with the access code included in the mailed survey. (Encuesta española aquí). 

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Austin’s most recent Residential Technology Study conducted in 2014 concluded 8% of Austinites (55,000) do not use the internet.

TechHire in Austin Update

Hiring Class Pipeline and Working Group Efforts Deem Promising Outcomes

The City’s Digital Inclusion Program, Communications & Technology Management Department, and collaborators representing Austin’s Digital Literacy and Workforce Development focused non-profits have been co-creating efforts around TechHire in Austin.

One of these efforts includes a partnership with Dell to supply candidates for their recurring Pro-Support Hiring Class. The candidates are students from Austin Free Net’s Accelerate Program and Goodwill’s Career and Technical Academy. These programs serve minority populations that are low-income, under-served, and often face barriers to self sufficiency and technology access and training. The first cohort of TechHire candidates were well received and considered good candidates by Dell based on their skills, experience, and job readiness. Dell wishes to further develop this pipeline of qualified job candidates. This is a needed development in the TechHire ecosystem, as such a pipeline did not exist previously. The TechHire team remains optimistic about this opportunity and hope to see continued success and development.

Another key effort is the TechHire working group, organized under the Digital Empowerment Community of Austin (DECA). The working group has been meeting roughly once a month to co-create efforts in support of TechHire.

The group has engaged the City’s new Public Library Director, Roosevelt Weeks to speak at the next convening to share his goals for improving workforce development and TechHire in Austin, and how specifically the library can support these efforts.

TechHire working group meeting   





Roosevelt Weeks, Director of Austin Public Library

Next Century Cities Respond to FCC with Mayoral Support

36 Mayor Signatories Defend Local Decision Making Around Smart City Technology

Last week, 36 mayors from Next Century Cities’s (NCC) member communities signed a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to defend local decision making around small cell deployment, public rights-of-way, and 5G investments. The letter, in response to the narrative that local leaders hinder small cell deployment, calls for collaboration between industry and municipalities. It also highlights the concerns that the “Commission will take actions that harm the public by decreasing [our] local authority without actually resolving the key problems that are limiting increased investment in better networks.”

The NCC also released independently conducted research that includes survey results about the primary objectives and concerns of local leaders around smart city technology and small cell deployment. 176 local government employees participated in the study that helps support their eagerness to “collaborate with providers to expedite the deployment of the necessary infrastructure to bring innovation and opportunity to their communities,” Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. (see the full results of the study here)


Copyright © 2018 City of Austin, All rights reserved.
Volume 53 – March 2018 Issue. Content produced by Office of Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Staff: John Speirs, Jesse Rodriguez, Sarah Rich

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