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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Disconnected: A Community and Technology Needs Assessment of the Southeast Los Angeles Region (SELA)


This technology needs assessment report of populations living in the Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) region addresses the root causes and dilemmas of the “digital divide” problem. This study addresses the central question: how can the Southeast Cities Technology Collaborative (SCTC) structure a regional intervention project that spearheads development in the productive use of information technology and benefits a low-income population with low educational attainment in Southeast Los Angeles (SELA) cities?

The study first provides a regional survey of the fiscal, institutional, and technological challenges facing this demographic region. The SELA region is a sub-section of Los Angeles County and comprised of eight cities and one unincorporated district: Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Maywood, South Gate, Vernon, Walnut Park, and the Florence-Firestone area. The demographic survey identifies that the SELA region has strong indicators of digital divide inequality.

The study further provides an assessment of existing digital divide intervention efforts in the SELA region: public access to computers and the internet at public schools, public libraries, nonprofit and community-based organization, city-initiated programs, and private for-profit services. The study takes account of community impressions and provides specific recommendations for institutional changes than can better integrate the population into a positive development process.

The study finds that investment in coordinating the integration of human capacity and technical infrastructure to network social service providers and users will support the social and economic advancement of the region. Investment in training school-age children, youth, and adults to harness the productive uses of information and telecommunications technology will yield the greatest benefits for future generations.

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