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What's New in Civic Tech: Seniors Receive Digital Training

Plus, apply for a job with the New York City Digital Service, Virginia announces more than $700 million in broadband connection grants, new data visualization shows innovations in cities spending federal money and more.

Albuquerque, N.M., is offering digital skills training to seniors to help close the digital divide, the city announced this week via the Department of Senior Affairs.

Albuquerque also teamed up with DiverseIT of Adelante to provide technology programs at no cost, aiming to help older adults navigate the Internet and thereby combat social isolation. Technology classes will be offered at Albuquerque's senior centers and multigenerational centers and some senior meal sites in Bernalillo County.

Participants in these classes will learn how to use their own personal devices as well as how to protect themselves from cyber threats like malware and identity theft. In addition, the program will share information about the WiFi in Neighborhoods program, which offers free Internet access in parks and other locations throughout the city.

These new classes are part of an ongoing trend nationwide. Technology classes for seniors have long been the domain of local government, perhaps most often offered through public library systems. Similar programs in places like South Carolina and Oakland, Calif., have also taken root.

Digital skills training for seniors has risen on local government priority lists in the wake of the pandemic, with telehealth in particular becoming a major focus of digital equity work aimed at seniors. (Julia Edinger)


The New York Digital Service is hiring, with interviews for a host of positions slated to begin next week.

Available roles include developer, designer, product manager and DevOps engineer. The jobs are housed within the New York City Office of the CTO, and applications can be found on that office's website. A hiring info session will be held online at 12 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17.

"Our work presents opportunities for candidates with a range of skill sets, both technical and non-technical, with an appreciation for how technology can be used for the public good," the office wrote on its hiring page. (Zack Quaintance)


Virginia has announced new grants intended to help the state get 90 percent of the way toward its goal of universal broadband access.

The announcement comes as the state dedicates over $722 million to broadband infrastructure from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) and the American Rescue Plan Act. The funding will go to 35 projects to connect over 278,000 households, businesses and other institutions to high-speed Internet.

“It’s a necessity for navigating today’s digital world, and this new funding will close Virginia’s digital divide with universal broadband by 2024,” Northam said in the announcement.

The announcement said the funding utilizes over $1 billion in private and local investments, bringing Virginia's total broadband investment to over $2 billion over the last four years. Additional information about the grants can be found on VATI’s website. (Edinger)


A new data visualization shows how 20 U.S. cities are spending the federal funds they're receiving through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Through that act alone, more than $67 billion is moving from the federal government to local communities. This visualization shows where within those communities the money is going, breaking the streams into categories such as municipal services and operations; economic development and revitalization; public health and safety; community and culture; and more.

The visualization is the work of the Bloomberg Cities Network, powered by Johns Hopkins University. It's published now, along with an analysis of where the money is going. The cities involved have a diversity of size and geography. The full list is Alexandria, Va.; Atlanta; Detroit; Hartford, Conn.; Kansas City, Mo.; Little Rock, Ark.; Madison, Wis.; Manchester, N.H.; Memphis, Tenn.; Minneapolis; Morgantown, W.V.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle; Stockton, Calif.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Trenton, N.J.; and Wichita, Kan. (Quaintance)
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine.
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for <i>Government Technology</i>. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.