HCC hosts Connect & Literacy Program meeting

Published 9:33 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

Warren County has been chosen as the first pilot community in the state for the Mississippi Broadband Association Connect and Literacy Program, it was announced in February.

Thursday, a crossection of Vicksburg and Warren County came together at Hinds Community College (HCC) for an introductory meeting aimed at teaching about the program and how it can impact the community.

United Way of West Central Mississippi Executive Director Michele Connelly said the program choosing Warren County as a starting point is an exciting step.

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“Recently, our friends at the Mississippi Alliance of Nonprofits and Philanthropy reached out to us regarding the Connect & Literacy Program,” Connelly explained. “The program plans to be a 10-year dedicated initiative aimed at overcoming barriers to digital opportunities in the state of Mississippi. The program recognizes the critical importance of affordable internet connectivity, digital literacy, access to technology devices, and network sustainability. The program was established to address these disparities and empower communities through access to affordable connectivity, community-based literacy programs, and the distribution of powerful devices to the users of the program.”

Connelly said the impact of the program to the economy and education of not just Warren County, but the state of Mississippi will be profound.

“The Mississippi Broadband Association will invest in three communities around Mississippi as pilot programs,” she said. “This will be an opportunity for MSBA to ensure they are both efficient and effective in the deployment of the Connect & Literacy Program across 82 counties in Mississippi. I am so very excited to announce that Warren County is the very first pilot program.”

Thursday’s meeting brought leaders from all corners of business, industry, nonprofits, government, and other areas of the Warren County community, together in one room in order to begin establishing a plan for moving forward with the program.

Connelly said the eventual goal is to form two “pilot groups” made up of around 15 local families each and with the aim of providing them with instructional classes and devices they can then take home and use.

“They want to explain how to open up doors for different professional opportunities; how to open up doors for academic enrichment for their children; how to utilize technology to be successful in the world we live in today.”