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Blog // Connect Ohio

A Message From Executive Director Stu Johnson

By COH Staff

It has been an incredibly active year for Connect Ohio, thanks to your support. 2013 was also a year of change as some Connect Ohio programs reached completion and are evolving into next phases.

The two-year Connect Appalachia Broadband Initiate (CABI) is coming to a close with the 2013-year. Formed in late 2011, its mission was to pull Appalachia Ohio within state and national standards in broadband adoption. The Task Force feels it has been instrumental in reducing the number of unserved households in Appalachian Ohio, and preliminary research to be released in early 2014 will clearly demonstrate the initiative’s impact.

The CABI Fund was created in early 2013 in cooperation with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, and is one component of CABI that will carry on beyond 2014.The CABI Fund was created to elicit contributions to provide computers and technology connectivity to low-income Appalachian areas in need. Financial contribution from Intel, Chesapeake Energy, as well as individual and private donations, allowed the CABI Fund to donate more than 35 computers throughout the Appalachian Ohio region this year.

As CABI is wrapping up in the fourth quarter of 2013, the focus on broadband resources in the Appalachian Ohio region will transition to a statewide level with the formation of the Ohio Broadband and Technology Caucus. Headed by Senator Uecker and Connect Ohio, the mission of the Ohio Broadband and Technology Caucus is to bring together bipartisan legislators from across Ohio to monitor state and federal broadband policy, build awareness, and broaden the resources available to address issues of broadband access, adoption, and use throughout Ohio. More details on the Caucus will come in 2014.

Another program reaching completion in 2013 is the Every Citizen Online (ECO) free basic computer and Internet training program. Beginning in 2010, more than 300 locations across the state received 1,700 new computers in order to provide the ECO training to more than 46,500 Ohio adults. Although instructor led training is over, self-paced ECO training will continue to be offered online ( Connect Ohio was able to form many new partnerships that fueled the success of the ECO program and has evolved the basic computer training component into its new job placement initiative, Digital Works.

In June 2013 Connect Ohio unveiled Digital Works: Connecting People & Jobs, a digital skills training program aimed at providing a link between twenty-first century workforce opportunities and community revitalization. The Digital Works program is an extension of the ECO digital literacy-training program. Using the digital learning model, Digital Works trains, places, and mentors high-quality business process candidates, placing them in a position that matches their skills and interest. The program is moving full speed ahead and has opened 9 locations the second half of this year, with additional locations opening in 2014.

The year is ending on a high note as in November Connect Ohio provided the latest Ohio broadband availability stats showing a significant increase in higher-speeds of fixed broadband over the last two years. Thirty-seven counties have seen an increase of 10 percentage points or more for 50 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload speed, with a significant part of the growth occurring in rural areas. As access is becoming ubiquitous, shifting the focus towards capacity will be an important undertaking in the year ahead to ensure that Ohioans are able to leverage all that broadband has to offer.

Connect Ohio continues to work toward reaching the goal of broadband access for all Ohioans and to increase broadband adoption and use. Thank you for your continued support of our efforts.

From our Connect Ohio family to yours, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 ~Stu Johnson


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