Conference at UCLA seeks to increase digital access to improve educational, social and economic outcomes across Los Angeles.

Education and Community Leaders Aim to Reduce Inequities by Bridging the Digital Divide

News Advisory: Contact: John McDonald
May 29, 2019


(Los Angeles) Education and civic leaders, community organizations, and policymakers will gather Wednesday, June 5, at a conference at UCLA to explore the development of a ‘partnership framework’ to lessen the digital divide that separates too many members of the Los Angeles community from essential educational, economic and social opportunities. The conference will begin at 8.30 a.m. Wednesday, June 5 at the Luskin Conference Center at UCLA.

The conference is a project of the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools and the California Emerging Technology Fund, with participation from a range of civic and community organizations. Los Angeles Unified School District Board President Mónica García and LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner are scheduled to participate. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will address the gathering via video message.

In Los Angeles County, research shows that in critical areas such as education, health and income, serious inequities limit access to opportunity, furthering deeply entrenched social and economic disparities. These inequities are made worse by a lack of access to the Internet and technology that prevents many residents in the poorest communities from fully participating in our community and digital world.

The Conference, Mobilizing Communities for Leadership in the High-Tech Sector in the Los Angeles Region: Transforming Schools and Neighborhoods through Digital Inclusion, envisions the development of a “Partnership Framework” for changing systems to increase digital access and achieve improved educational, social and economic outcomes. Participants will explore possibilities for developing strong and sustainable partnerships among education, local government and employers to address systemic issues related to inequality in the Los Angeles Region. Participants will also examine regional strategies to increase digital access and participation, and discuss ways to further educational and professional pathways in the high tech sector and emerging industries to increase employment opportunities for low-income youth and families.

In addition to Mayor Garcetti, Mónica García, and Austin Beutner, featured speakers include Manuel Pastor, USC Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity, Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Community College Chancellor, Kamau Bobb, Founding Senior Director of the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing, Oscar Menjivar, CEO, Teens Exploring Technology, Jaime Casap, Google Education Evangelist, JR DeShazo, UCLA Professor of Public Policy, Gary Segura, Dean, UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy, and Heather Hiles, CEO and President, California Online Community College District. Professor Noguera and Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO, of the California Emerging Technology Fund will speak at and help to moderate the event.