CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF) – When schools went virtual after COVID-19 started nearly two years ago getting internet to people in need was a challenge but solved by organizations in Chattanooga.
Since HCS EdConnect’s launch through a partnership with the Enterprise Center in July 2020, it has made a remarkable impact on families delivering free EPB broadband internet to over 8500 households and over 15,000 students.
“Big picture, education looks like the Internet now. The opportunity to do homework at home again is incredibly … I’m really excited to see it get this national recognition,” said Geoff Millener, Enterprise Center C.E.O.
According to a Boston College analysis, 98% of enrolled families used HCS EdConnect to interact with their child’s school and 82% used it to interact with their doctor.
“It’s about healthcare. It’s about quality of life. Spending time with the folks that you can’t see in a moment like this as well as just those everyday things that we know the Internet has an impact on,” said Millener.
HCS EdConnect will provide all eligible students with broadband access at no cost for a minimum of the next decade, with the intention to extend the program beyond that timeframe.
“We’re really excited about the work that is happening. Getting recognized in the economic mobility catalog. Like so many other things we’ve made an impact here but it’s a model of the other communities can follow. It is leading the way and will have an impact far outside of our county border,” said ,” said Millener.
He said the staff at the enterprise center is honored by the national recognition but this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Chattanooga, EPB, and public and private funding.
They are still enrolling families in HCS EdConnect. All Hamilton County Schools families need to do is reach out directly to their schools.