By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR
“A successful city thrives on the kind of disruption new technology brings,” explained Mayor Bill de Blasio at his Internet Week NY Keynote address. And Mayor de Blasio plans to do all he can to keep technology at the forefront of his agenda while mayor of New York City. Here are a few of the initiatives that de Blasio spoke about while addressing the crowd:
1. Keeping Foreign Talented and Creative People. The tech community is always in need of talented and creative people. For this reason de Blasio is doing all he can at the local level to help foreigners with the skills to thrive in the tech community stay in New York City. He mentions a program of municipal ID cards as well as working with the Economic Development Corporation of New York City (NYCEDC) to help foreign-born-US-educated entrepreneurs to stay in this city after graduation.
2. Tech Talent Pipeline. Mayor de Blasio was very happy to announce this initiative during the event. The Tech Talent Pipeline will train thousands of New Yorkers for jobs in the tech ecosystem. This is a $10 million initiative that will be backed by JPMorgan Chase, the New York Community Trust and the NYC Workforce Funders Group, among others.
3. Tech Talent Draft. This is a program that connects 4,500 students to over 150 NYC tech companies through events at 90 universities across the country and in NYC. This program is part of the initiative to attract tech talent to NYC.
4. NYC Generation Tech. This is a “tech-entrepreneurship program that provides hands-on learning experiences and mentorship opportunities for New York City high school students interested in transforming the world through tech-based innovations.” This program is a joint effort from the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and the NYCEDC.
5. Broadband Access. Without the proper infrastructure, all the talent in the world is useless. For this reason de Blasio is pushing for universal affordable high-speed internet access for everyone in New York City. This initiative also plays into the goal of empowering the whole of New York City to participate in the tech industry. de Blasio seeks to attain this goal by introducing more competition into the broadband internet market in NYC, reexamine franchise agreements with Verizon Fios and Time Warner Cable, converting a network of 10,000 payphones into internet hotspots, and the introduction of the Harlem Wi-Fi network (which will be the largest continuous network of free Wi-Fi in the nation). The Harlem Wi-Fi network in particular will bring free Wi-Fi to 80,000 residents between 110th street and 138th street.
6. .NYC. Later this year New York City will become the first city in this nation with its top-level domain address. Apply for your .nyc address here!
Overall, de Blasio’s plan can be divided into three parts: 1. Keeping tech workers who are benefiting the economy from being forced to leave due to visa issues, 2. Educating our citizens with updated school programs for the young and tech training programs for the current workforce who wants to make a move into the tech sector, and 3. Equipping everyone with the tools they need to participate, i.e. affordable high-speed broadband internet.
P.S. Although I liked the majority of what Mayor de Blasio said, this one thing really bugged me. Bill de Blasio seems a bit out of touch with how long it takes to get places in NYC when you’re not assisted by police escort. He opens his keynote by mentioning that if this same keynote were taking place in Silicon Valley that the commute would be much longer. He must be unaware that New York City has the highest average commute time out of anywhere in the US. NYC has many things going for it that help foster this great community of tech and innovation, though commute times are not one of them.