After months of speculation about whether Mayor Bill de Blasio was committed to New York’s technology community, de Blasio unveiled his plans at Internet Week on Monday. De Blasio’s technology vision for the city focuses on better Internet access for low-income individuals and an increased technology presence in all five New York City boroughs.
De Blasio announced the launch of the Tech Talent Pipeline, working with the City University of New York and Department of Education to prepare students to enter the technology sector. The program has a $10 million budget, coming from both private and public resources.
The administration will also be spending $50 million on programs for CUNY community college students to help them achieve their degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. De Blasio says his team will be “taking a series of steps to transform our approach to public education.”
The mayor says he wants all New Yorkers living in public housing to have access to broadband Internet and will be working with the New York City Housing Authority towards this goal. “We must have universal affordable high-speed Internet access throughout this city,” says de Blasio.
De Blasio also expressed dedication to previously announced initiatives, including free Wi-Fi for Harlem, which is scheduled for completion this summer. Ten thousand payphones throughout the city will also be converted to free Wi-Fi portals.
This was the first time that de Blasio addressed the burgeoning technology community in a significant way. Mayor Bloomberg, who left office in January, was vocal about his dedication to entrepreneurship and was instrumental in securing plans for Cornell’s upcoming technology campus on Roosevelt Island.
“The previous administration of Mayor Bloomberg did a fine job setting the table for the growth of the industry,” said de Blasio. “We know there’s also a lot more to do for the next wave of growth.”
The technology ecosystem in New York employs 291,000 people and is a $30 billion industry.
“We are very proud to say New York City is the second largest tech sector in America and growing,” says de Blasio.