Broward County Mayor, Barbara Sharief


Staff Report

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In a unique community partnership formed at the request of Mayor Barbara Sharief, the Broward County Libraries and Enterprise Technology Services divisions, CareerSource Broward, the School Board and T-Mobile joined forces this week to launch an innovative two-year “Digital Divide” pilot program to provide tablets to eligible residents who live in the Broward Municipal District (BMSD).

“For some families in our community, it is more important to put dinner on the table than to have internet access,” said Mayor Sharief. “But studies show conclusively that a lack of access to the digital world can adversely affect income and level of education achieved. It’s important for every family to be able to connect to the same information resources that many of us take for granted.”

As a result of the initiative, the County will invest $93,600 over two years to provide data service to residents accepted into the program. T-Mobile will donate 300 tablets valued at approximately $115,000.

The tablets will be on loan to eligible residents and equipped with access to schools, libraries and job readiness services.

Broward County provides municipal services to the unincorporated areas in the BMSD.

“Our motto in the BMSD is ‘Investing in our future, improving our community,’ and that is exactly what the Digital Divide program helps us do,” said Sharief.

The initiative targets lower income students in grades K-12 and residents that are currently unemployed and looking for work with a household income of less than $36,273.

Participants will be required to attend an orientation and agree to several accountability factors to remain active in the program. The program’s success and continuation will be evaluated at the end of the two-year pilot.