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Connected Nation’s Director of Digital Inclusion Selected for FCC’s Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment

/EIN News/ -- Bowling Green, Ky., Sept. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heather Gate, Director of Digital Inclusion for Connected Nation, has been selected to serve on the Federal Communications Commission’s recently created Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE). Chairman Ajit Pai announced in April his plans to form the ACDDE in efforts to ensure that disadvantaged communities and businesses have access to the wide range of opportunities made possible by next generation networks.    

Heather Gate, Director of Digital Inclusion for Connected Nation


Connected Nation (CN), a nonprofit based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, works with federal, state, and local leaders from across the country to identify the challenges and opportunities to close the Digital Divide. Gate joined CN in 2006 and is currently responsible for CN’s strategy development and implementation of programs that impact digital inclusion for all people in all places.

“I’ve worked for more than ten years in the area of digital inclusion living out Connected Nation’s mission to improve the lives of vulnerable populations across the country,” Gate said. “In that time, I’ve seen what’s at stake when families, communities, and small businesses are left out of a digital world—they simply don’t have access to the same educational, healthcare, and economic opportunities that the rest of us do, and that’s just scratching the surface. That’s why I am honored to learn I’ve been selected for this committee. Connected Nation can do even more to help if we’re able to share our best practices and understanding of the unique challenges minority groups face with FCC leadership as they seek to close the Digital Divide.”

According to the FCC, the committee will provide advice and recommendations to the Commission regarding “how to empower disadvantaged communities and accelerate the entry of small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities into the media, digital news and information, and audio and video programming industries.”  

During her time with CN, Gate has guided the successful implementation of digital inclusion programs that saw more than 80,000 people receive basics skills training, a large portion of whom were Somali refugees, and 10,000 computers distributed to vulnerable populations from rural to urban Low- to-Moderate-Income (LMI) communities; led the design and implementation of the No Child Left Offline program in Kentucky and the Computer 4 Kids program in Tennessee; and supported the implementation of various Lifeline Broadband Adoption Pilots which ranged from securing refurbished devices in Puerto Rico to coordinating digital literacy workshops for the Hopi Tribe in northeast Arizona.

She led the design and development of CN’s online learning platform, Drive™. This platform, launched in 2014, supports new technology learners and trainers and currently hosts more than 10,000 unique learners actively engaged in either basic skills training or job skills training. Gate’s work also includes the planning and implementation of the New York, Nebraska, and Delaware Opportunity Online Summits, an effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that focused on improving technologies within libraries as a hub for low-income families.

“We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman and CEO of Connected Nation. “Heather works tirelessly to connect those within vulnerable populations, and I know that her experience with minorities, rural communities, families, and others on the frontlines of the Digital Divide will be a great benefit to the FCC as it seeks to empower disadvantaged communities through broadband and next-generation networks.”

Gate holds a bachelor of science in computer science from Kentucky State University and earned the President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating student. She also has a master’s in computer science and a master’s in public administration from Kentucky State University.


Connected Nation is a leading technology organization committed to bringing affordable high-speed internet and broadband-enabled resources to all Americans so no one is left on the wrong side of the Digital Divide. We believe everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

The nonprofit works neutrally and across party lines with consumers, local community leaders, state and federal officials, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: www.connectednation.org/, Facebook and Twitter.



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/4510a527-5844-4b0c-b5e3-1df17006c2ed




A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/32aaa5ff-069f-443e-aee6-5256f4b60779

Jessica Denson
                    Connected Nation

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