Macon hopes to compete for technology grant

The Knight Foundation met Feb. 7 with more than 60 community leaders and stakeholders in an effort to enhance Macon’s technology infrastructure to make a bid for a Connect2Compete grant. The grant is part of a Federal Communications Commission initiative designed to make technology and Internet services more available to Americans. Connect to Compete is described as a private and nonprofit sector partnership created to promote broadband adoption and improve outcomes in disadvantaged communities.

The company is associated with Best Buy, Microsoft and Career Builder among other top tech businesses.

Twenty to 30 cities will be selected to earn the grant that will be announced in September. Macon is under serious consideration, as the city processes its existing resources, creating a proposal for the grant application.

Kelley Dunne, CEO of One Economy and one of the leaders of Connect2Compete expanded on the need for telecommunications. He told the audience that 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies have online-only job applications, while 50 percent of today’s jobs require some technological understanding and application.

Mayor Robert Reichert was enthused about the potential possibilities demonstrated at the conference. Reichert mentioned that Bibb County’s low high school graduation rates may help the city receive the grant, because there is an obvious need.

 “This is a game-changer,” Reichert said of the conference according to “We’re taking one of our greatest weaknesses and are addressing it. It’s unparalleled. We have the resources, the commitment and capability.”

Connect2Compete is described as an investment in the future of the country.