Catherine Tkachyk has received the inaugural Next Century Cities Change Maker Award, earning the accolade as part of a group of “local leaders” making a difference in their communities.
Tkachyk, the chief innovation and performance officer for Cuyahoga County, was honored in the organization’s 2020 Year in Review for her efforts regarding digital inclusion in our region.
Read: Today Next Century Cities 2020 Year in Review
“I’m honored to receive a Next Century Cities award for Cuyahoga County,” said Tkachyk.“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how important internet access is to for everyone. We are working with great partners including Digital C, The Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cleveland Partnership, PCs for People, and many more, to fully address the digital divide.
Tkachyk commissioned a digital divide impact study, which detailed the challenges faced by Cuyahoga County:
- 24.9% of Cuyahoga County households have no internet access of any kind.
- 51.8% of households making less than $20,000 lack home internet access of any kind
- More than 37% of seniors have neither a home computer nor internet access.
As the pandemic struck Cuyahoga County, it became even more important to address the inequities created by the digital divide. Home internet became crucial for staying connected to loved ones, for completing school work, and applying for jobs.
Along with local and national partners, the County:
- Contributed $1.5 million to the Greater Cleveland Digital Equity Fund, which launched with the aim of providing internet access and computers to low-income residents.
- Partnered with DigitalC to provide low-cost home internet access to Cleveland residents.
- Partnered with AT&T to provide 300 hotspots and two years of internet access to CMSD to distribute to students without internet.
- Partnered with Secure Recycling to provide Chromebooks for students, and with PCs for People to collect over 2,000 donated computers and accessories.
- Launched an RFI to identify quality vendors who can help expand affordable, high-speed broadband services to County residents.
Learn more about the work of the Office of Innovation and Performance at cuyahogacounty.us/innovation.