Digital Connectors (One Economy)

I had a great discussion today with Karla Ballard and others from her One Economy team.  The focus of the discussion was their Digital Connectors program.  The program is for 14-21 year old students who want to gain greater digital literacy.   It is a very intense program that is available currently in 105 locations around the nation.   One Economy recently received a Broadband grant that will allow them to expand to 167 locations before the end of the year.   They deliver the program with local community organizations (e.g., Big Brothers/Big Sisters, YMCA, Urban League and so on).     They have a 6-week summer program and a 2-semester after-school program (2-3 times per week; 2 hours per day).

Each of the Digital Connector students (about 900 of them current in classes now) makes a commitment to give 56 hours of community service in order to graduate.  How great would it be for those 56 hours of community service to be given in support of BDPA chapters around the nation?   How great would it be for the 900 students to be funnelled to BDPA chapters after graduation so that they can network ... receive support / internships ... and otherwise continue on their dream to advance their careers in the IT industry?

These are the thoughts that went thru my mind as we talked today.    I've asked them to send me a list of the cities in which their Digital Connector classes are currently operating to see if they are co-located with any of our 45 BDPA chapters.

They have 90 students in Chicago.   How great would it be for all 90 students to be registered for the 2011 Youth Technology Camp on August 3-6 in Chicago?

I asked One Economy to consider giving a workshop presentation on the results (as they know them) for the Broadband grant so far.  They are interested.  I just need to figure out how to send them invitation to submit the Call for Presenters.  HELP!

Anyhow, I would be interested in any feedback that you may have on Digital Connectors or One Economy.




Replies to this Topic

sounds great. Maybe I can tie it in with what I've been working on. There's so much going on. 

Wayne, thanks for sending.  This is great. I would be interested to see if One Economy has students here in Los Angeles.  It would be great to get these students involved in our local HSCC program as well.

I'm waiting to get the list of cities where the Digital Connectors program is up & running.  It is likely that many of the cities on this list will be co-located with BDPA chapters.

I've heard from members in our BDPA chapters located in Cleveland, Columbus and Los Angeles chapter so far who have expressed interest in exploring possible synergy with One Economy on this program.

Stay tuned!

Great post Wayne. My son is actually one of the 90 students that is in the program here in Chicago! I also sent about three other students to the program from my youth organization and they are involved! It truly is a great program.

One of my mentors is actually the Community Impact Officer for One Economy, Licia Knight (she's here in Chicago and a past BDPAer!). I spoke with her and told her about my intentions in submitting a proposal to be a workshop facilitator for the conference this year and she really encouraged me to do so. I'll see if she is in town that week and encourage her to do the same.

I think it would be great if a student membership to BDPA could be a "graduation" gift to the students that complete the program! *They give some GREAT, top-notch, gifts to the students who successfully complete the program!

Lahesha Wms.


Is this the same Lahesha who was president of a BDPA student chapter a few years ago ... and helped to launch the annual Student Empowerment Conferences in Chicago?   You are MUCH too young to have a son eligible for Digital Connectors!?!    :)

Or ... I'm getting old!

Anyhow, I think that your thoughts about BDPA membership being a great 'graduation' gift are right on point.    Right now, I'm just being open-minded to groups like One Economy who have existing programs that may be great strategic partners for BDPA (programs, memberships) and BETF (potential grant partners).    That is how I got on the phone with the Digital Connector folks in the first place.

I suspect that the relationship will evolve over time from the grassroots ... with local chapter energy and direction from people like you (Chicago), Todd (Cleveland), Philena (Columbus) and Kirk (Los Angeles).     That is the beauty of this online Groupsite community.

Lahesha -- can you share any information about the local group that is conducting the training for the 90 Digital Connectors in Chicago?    Is it a Boys Club?  Urban League?

Finally, I encourage you to open up a new discussion to share information about your youth organization.  Is it technology-based?

peace, Wayne


Hi Wayne,

This is great.  I hope they have a presence in Houston.  T

I should know the location of Digital Connectors around the nation shortly.   They sent me a file on Friday ... but, it had a .dat extension and I was unable to open it.   I hope to have a more common file extension on the file shared with me this coming week.

That is probably their email program that converted the data to a .dat.  You can read more about it.

What is .dat?

It should be an Excel file for that type of data. Try changing the extension back to xls, as the article stated. I had to do this with an image file a few times.  But that was a long time ago.  I didn't know this was still going on. 

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