Comcast and California elected officials hosted the Comcast Youth Tech Summit and Expo on Thursday at the Sacramento Convention Center. The event included panel discussions answering questions from youth in the audience on several different topics, including cyberbullying and starting a technology-related career.

The event was to promote year three of Comcast’s broadband adoption initiative, the Internet Essentials program, which has as of June 2013 enrolled 25,750 low-income California families and 150,000 families in the United States.

“Together, with cities like Sacramento, we are making real and significant progress in closing the digital divide in America,” said Comcast Executive Vice President David Cohen in a press release. “We know there is still a long road ahead, but we remain committed to connecting even more families to the Internet, especially during this critical back to school season.”

In the panel discussion Creating Our Future Workforce, California Department of Technology Director Carlos Ramos highlighted why young people need to have the resources to go into technology related fields. According to Ramos, California has 41,900 technology companies; technology workers have average wages of $123,900, while the average private sector wage, as a whole, is $53,600.

To join in with a technology-related field, Ramos said, “[Students] should take a lot of science classes to figure out how to implement their ideas, but also need to meet people in the industry [face to face].”

Comcast also announced a contest where students could make a 60 second video on the topic “Why the Internet is Essential.”

Four runner-up students will receive netbook computers, and the first-place winner will receive a netbook computer, a $1,000 gift card, 15 Opportunity Cards to help pay for Internet Essentials Service and 15 netbook computers for the non-profit community organization of their choice.

This article was originally published on Techwire.net.

Amy Stewart  |  Staff Writer, Techwire.net

Amy Stewart is a staff writer with Techwire.net, a publication dedicated to the public-sector technology industry in California.