Connect 313 Fund Announces Addition of 17 New Tech Hubs in Detroit

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The Connect 313 Fund will open 17 new neighborhood tech funds in Detroit, raising the number of residents considered “digitally included” to 67.5 percent. // Stock Photo

The Connect 313 Fund, a collaborative partnership formed to bridge the digital divide in Detroit between the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Rocket Mortgage, the city of Detroit, Microsoft, and United Way for Southeastern Michigan, has announced the launch of 17 new neighborhood technology hubs across Detroit.

At least one tech hub will be located in each of Detroit’s seven council districts, establishing citywide access to these trusted community spaces that provide internet connectivity, technology, and digital literacy programming.

“We set a goal two years ago to provide Detroiters vital access to the tools and technology they need to thrive,” says Bob Walters, CEO of Rocket Mortgage, the title sponsor of the Rocket Mortgage Classic. “The opening of these new technology hubs is a huge step toward that goal. These additional neighborhood tech hubs will help even more Detroiters connect to education and employment opportunities, unleash their potential, and grow a community.”

Each of these tech hubs will receive grant support ensuring they are furnished with access to computers, high speed internet, digital programming capabilities, and critical in-person technology support and guidance.

In 2019, Detroit was ranked the least connected large city in the country but will now go from five neighborhood technology hubs to 22 overall. Thanks to the efforts of Connect 313 and other digital inclusion efforts, 67.5 percent of Detroit residents are now considered digitally included.

The announcement took place Monday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic media day. The PGA Tour event, which will be played July 26-31 at the Detroit Golf Club, began its “changing the course” mission in 2020 to help bridge Detroit’s digital divide. The goal of changing the course is to ensure every Detroiter has access to the internet, technology, and digital literacy programming within a 10-minute walk of their home.

Jason Langwell, executive director of the Rocket Mortgage Classic says: “We are proud that the Rocket Mortgage Classic can continue its critical changing the course mission in such an impactful way, moving Detroit one step closer to closing its digital divide. The Rocket Mortgage Classic is about more than golf, it’s about giving back to the city we call home and each resident across Detroit’s neighborhoods.”

The Connect 313 Fund also announced a new digital literacy curriculum, designed for learners, teachers, and organizations who are new to digital literacy programming.

The curriculum, based entirely on open-source programming, covers basic digital literacy skills as well as tips on how to obtain internet service and a technological device. The playbook will be available in the coming weeks on the Connect 313 Fund website, where it can also be printed.

“The Connect 313 Fund’s new digital literacy curriculum will help residents develop the basic skills required to succeed in our modern, interconnected world,” says Joshua Edmonds, the director of digital inclusion for the city of Detroit and the chief advocate for Connect 313.

“From understanding the basics of software programs, to social media and how to operate a device, this free, online curriculum will help level the playing field for every Detroiter.”

Since 2019, the Rocket Mortgage Classic has invested more than $5.25 million into local nonprofits, including $3.2 million through the changing the course initiative first launched in 2020. Additional philanthropic efforts include the Connect 313 Fund’s “EBB 313” campaign, launched at the 2021 Rocket Mortgage Classic media day, which is connected more than 82,500 Detroit households to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). This represented more than 30 percent of Detroit households.

In related news, the Rocket Mortgage Classic media day announced new additions to the field. World No. 7 and reigning FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay and 2013 Masters Champion Adam Scott have committed, joining a list of early commitments.

Cantlay and Scott will join reigning RMC champion Cam Davis, World No. 13 Will Zalatoris, World No. 16 Tony Finau, major championship winners and past World No. 1s Justin Rose and Jason Day, PGA Tour Rookie of the Year frontrunner Cameron Young, nine-time PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar, five-time PGA Tour winner Rickie Fowler and four-time PGA Tour winner Kevin Kisner.