This forum, co-hosted by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and New Start New Jersey, was held on October 10 and focused on the economic and social consequences of insufficient broadband Internet access for low-income individuals and potential remedies at the state and community levels.
Dr. Carl Van Horn of the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development started the forum by welcoming guests and giving them an overview of the program. Tammy Murphy of New Start New Jersey then provided introductory remarks about the forum and also introduced the keynote speaker, Jordana Barton.
Jordana Barton of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas spoke about how the Federal Reserve Banks are helping to combat this issue through the Community Reinvestment Act in her keynote address. Barton suggested one solution involves incorporating banks into local economic development plans since “Banks are looking to those economic development plans and saying, ‘How can we fit in?’” Individuals interested in learning more about Barton's work should read her report, Closing the Digital Divide: A Framework for Meeting CRA Obligations.
Dr. Carl Van Horn moderated a panel discussion with Barton and Stefanie Brand, Director of the New Jersey Division of the Rate Counsel and Kurt Peluso of EveryoneOn, a national nonprofit seeking to create social and economic opportunity by connecting everyone to the Internet.