Long Beach, CA Gets To Work On Digital Inclusion

The city of Long Beach, Ca has launched a Smart City Initiative to investigate the technological training needs of residents from four specific neighborhoods. The city has partnered with the Long Beach Collaboratory (LB Co-Lab) on the project, which is funded through the Long Beach Recovery Act and other grant funds.

“The LB Co-Lab will engage local Long Beach stakeholders in a collaborative community engagement process to scope and implement a pilot technology project,” a city announcement stated. “The technology implemented through this program will ensure the city invests in technology enhancements based on community-identified needs, while also teaching community members about technology design and development.”

The four neighborhoods were chosen based on internet access, unemployment, age, and COVID-19 impact data. Individuals who live, work, study or have an affiliation with one of those neighborhoods may apply to participate in the program. Those accepted will join a community working group to provide feedback on digital inclusion issues and how the city can help address them. They will also review submissions for potential smart city projects and participate in the deployment and testing processes of the solutions. They will receive training in technology development, earn a professional certificate, and a US$1,000 stipend.

It’s expected that – along with helping determine future city projects based on community needs – this Smart City Initiative will also help launch additional economic investment funds for further technological developments.

“The LB Co-Lab is an innovative program that will work with residents to foster technology skills,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in an announcement, “and help us invest in the technology and services that will be most useful to our community.”