The Raleigh Report: Raleigh tech official seeks improved Web access for neighborhoods

Originally Published in The Raleigh Report (May 4, 2011)

Gail Roper, chief information officer for the city of Raleigh, was a featured speaker at Consero Group’s 2011 Government IT Forum at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort in Clearwater, Florida.

Roper talked about how Raleigh is finding new ways to use technology to reduce costs and expand services.

The recap comes to us courtesy of Paul Mandell, founder and CEO of Consero, who held a Q&A with Roper during the forum. A rep for Mandell shared highlights via email with your loyal blogger here at The Raleigh Report.

Roper said her goal is to help Raleigh become “the most wired city in the country in every neighborhood.” Forbes Magazine has already named Raleigh the most wired city in the country.

For the past few years, Roper has worked on an initiative known as “Raleigh Connected,” which has given WiFi access to some of the city’s most underserved residents, including those in 1,100 publicly subsidized homes, Mandell noted.

“We are having some interesting conversations with local learning institutions about how to expand their reach to the community to foster certification and degree programs that support workforce readiness,” Roper said, according to the recap. “We want to do everything that we can to promote 21st-century skills for young people as they compete globally.”

“Raleigh Connected” focuses on three main areas: city services, disaster recovery and public safety and economic/workforce development.  As part of the initiative, city officials have joined forces with One Economy Corporation to start the “Digital Connectors” program, which offers intensive computer training to those between the ages of 14 and 21.