San José Digital Inclusion Partnership Director Announced
San José, California – Today the City of San José and California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) announced Charlene Tatis as the Director of the new San José Digital Inclusion Partnership to close the Digital Divide in the capital of Silicon Valley. In February, the San José City Council authorized the City Manager to enter into an agreement with CETF, a statewide non-profit organization experienced in getting low-income households and disadvantaged communities connected at home to the Internet, to assist the City in awarding and managing grants to local community groups and government agencies. The goal of the Partnership is to reach 50,000 unconnected households in San José over 10 years. The grants will be supported by proceeds into the San José Digital Inclusion Fund from fees paid by companies deploying 5G technology and matching monies from the private sector. The overall initiative is referred to as the San José Digital Inclusion Partnership, a unique groundbreaking program in the nation.
Ms. Tatis has served for the last year as the Grants Manager for SJ Learns, administered by the City Library and one of Mayor Sam Liccardo’s signature programs to advance Digital Inclusion. She has also served as the Assistant Director for Santa Clara County FIRST 5 and Program Manager for the Family Resource Center Initiative sponsored by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Ms. Tatis was selected as the Partnership Director after an extensive 2-month open recruitment and application process.
“We’re grateful to have Charlene at the helm of our Digital Inclusion Partnership Program as we work to connect thousands of San Joséans with the resources they need to thrive in our Valley,” said Mayor Liccardo. “Under her leadership, we envision bridging San Jose’s Digital Divide, and expanding educational and economic opportunity for thousands of low- income families.”
Sunne Wright McPeak, President and CEO of CETF, underscored that Ms. Tatis has extensive experience in working in the community as well as with the City Library, a key partner designated by the City Council to provide guidance for the digital literacy metrics and educational outcomes to further define key results for recipients of grant awards from the Digital Inclusion Fund. “Charlene brings to the Digital Inclusion Partnership a deep understanding of community organizations and heartfelt commitment to reaching all digitally-disadvantaged residents in San José through collaboration with all stakeholders coupled with an intense focus on outcomes,” she said.
Ms. Tatis commented, “Raised in San José, I know firsthand how being disconnected from the Internet impacts families and their opportunities. From finding an apartment and applying for a job, to enrolling children in programs and managing healthcare and finances, fast Internet is critical to an engaged, healthy, and vibrant community. I am honored and committed to realizing the goals of the San José Digital Inclusion Partnership and could not be more excited to launch.”
The Digital Inclusion Partnership will be overseen by an Advisory Board appointed by the City Manager. It is expected that the Advisory Board will announce the availability of grant applications in the fall and the City Council will approve the first award of Digital Inclusion grants in early 2020. The San Jose Digital Inclusion Partnership Director will be based in San José and be an employee of CETF. Office space is being donated by WeWork, located at 333 West San Carlos Street.