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Connected Nation’s Director of Digital Inclusion Named to FCC Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment

October 17, 2019
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Heather Gate, Director of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation
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Heather Gate, Director of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation

Washington, DC, Oct. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced in June that the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE) would be re-chartered. For the second time, Heather Gate, Director of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation, has just been named to serve on the committee.

“I was happy to learn that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai decided to extend this committee’s important work for another two years. So much is at stake and we need to continue building on the progress we’ve made,” said Gate. “Right now, too many families, senior citizens, veterans, and children — across both rural and urban communities — still do not have access to the same educational, health care, and economic opportunities that the rest of us do, and that’s just scratching the surface. That is simply not acceptable.”

Chairman Pai first announced his intention to form the new federal advisory committee in April 2017. Initially chartered in July 2017 for two years, the ACDDE provided advice and recommendations to the FCC on “how to empower disadvantaged communities and accelerate the entry of small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities into the media, digital news and information, and audio and video programming industries.”

Gate was again named to the 2019 committee and asked to serve as its Vice Chair. In the FCC announcement Chairman Pai applauded Gate for serving as the Chair of the ACDDE’s Digital Empowerment and Inclusion Working Group in the previous committee. He stated that her energy, knowledge and organizational skills resulted in a productive working group.

“It’s so important to have a dialog with other stakeholders and identify ways to work together so we can help more people,” Gate said. “By having a voice on this committee, Connected Nation can also have an even broader impact. If we’re able to share our best practices and understanding of the unique challenges minority groups face with FCC leadership as they seek to close the Digital Divide, then we will be able to multiply the positive impact of our work and mission to connect all people.”

Since 2006, Gate has been responsible for CN’s strategy development and implementation of programs that impact digital inclusion for all people in all places.

“We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, CN. “Heather works tirelessly to connect those within vulnerable populations, and I know that her experience with minorities, rural communities, families, and others on the frontlines of the Digital Divide has already proven invaluable in this setting and will continue to be a great benefit to the FCC as it seeks to empower disadvantaged communities through broadband and next-generation networks.”

About Heather Gate During her time with CN, Gate has guided the successful implementation of digital inclusion programs that saw more than 80,000 people receive basics skills training, a large portion of whom were Somali refugees, and 10,000 computers distributed to vulnerable populations from rural to urban Low- to-Moderate-Income (LMI) communities; led the design and implementation of the No Child Left Offline program in Kentucky and the Computer 4 Kids program in Tennessee; and supported the implementation of various Lifeline Broadband Adoption Pilots that ranged from securing refurbished devices in Puerto Rico to coordinating digital literacy workshops for the Hopi Tribe in northeast Arizona.

Heather has led let the development and implantation of various digital inclusion programs which culminated in the design and development of CN’s online learning platform, Drive™. This platform, launched in 2014, supports new technology learners and trainers and currently hosts more than 12,000 unique learners actively engaged in either basic skills training or job skills training.

Gate’s work also includes the planning and implementation of the New York, Nebraska, and Delaware Opportunity Online Programs, an effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focused on improving technologies within libraries as a hub for low-income families; and working with Connected Nation’s program partners to ensure that broadband technologies and digital skills training resources are accessible to vulnerable populations across the country. This includes working with low-cost programs, State Broadband Initiatives and developing and implementing custom programs that have impacted thousands across the United States.

Gate holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Kentucky State University and earned the President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating student. She also has master’s degrees in computer science and public administration from Kentucky State University.

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About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: connectednation.org and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.

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Jessica Denson Connected Nation 5023412024 jdenson@connectednation.org