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Cuyahoga County Awards Contract to Connected Insights to Assess Effectiveness of Internet Assistance

Cuyahoga County Awards Contract to Connected Insights to Assess  Effectiveness of Internet Assistance

Connected Insights is a new 501c3 based in Cleveland, working to measure the community impacts of social programs, organizations and government.

Thousands of county residents struggle to maintain the requirements of their enrollment in social programs due to a lack of broadband access, while local governments face pressure to do more with less budget.

This will be the first study of its kind in the country and will serve as a model for local government nationally, using real data to quantify real solutions.

Cleveland, Ohio - It’s 2018, and we know by now that when people are better connected, their lives are measurably better. Broadband access in the home helps people find employment, stay enrolled in critical social services, and seek out health services. It helps both children and adults do better in school. And the effects of broadband access in homes has a trickle down benefit to the region, reducing state costs for unemployment, emergency room visits, and more.

But approving funding for social programs is a tough sell these days. States, counties, and those seeking the funding themselves need hard data and numbers to back up their good intentions. Gathering systematic, significant data from traditionally underserved populations takes time, funding, and expertise—three things many small community groups don’t have a lot of. Which is where Connected Insights, a new Cleveland-based 501c3, hopes to help, using proven data strategies and survey collection to give organizations the hard numbers they need. They are proud to announce, just in time for International Digital Inclusion Week, the county recently awarded Connected Insights a contract to evaluate the effectiveness of current internet assistance strategies for Cuyahoga County residents.

“Connected Insights aims to improve the awareness of the good work our local community organizations are doing, and to help guide donors, so they can see how their grant dollars have an actual impact.” - Samantha Schartman, CEO, Connected Insights

Over the next six months, Connected Insights will assess the return on investment for providing internet connectivity assistance to in-need Cuyahoga residents, to help them better manage interactions with the county online. Informing the ROI study is Connected Insights' previous 2017 longitudinal study which looked at the impact of the Connect Your Community project (a 19 million dollar federal stimulus project that previously connected over 5,000 Cleveland and East Cleveland residents), and a 2012 Cuyahoga County broadband adoption survey conducted by Karen Mossberger, a former Kent State University professor and author of Digital Cities: The Internet and the Geography of Opportunity. now of Arizona State University. Mossberger will lend her expertise of smart government strategies and social impact to the new county project, as well as NDIA (the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.) Recommendations at the end of the study in March will help inform county strategies to reduce cost while increasing the benefit to the community.

“As Ohio goes, so goes the nation,” has never seemed more true. Our region faces economic and social hurdles that are quickly becoming just as important in Kansas or Arizona, and the world is watching Cleveland’s efforts. Affordable broadband access is not just a Northeast Ohio issue, but one faced all over the globe, and Connected Insights is proud to work with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance to celebrate  International Digital Inclusion Week, October 15-21, 2018. IDIW aims to increase awareness and commitment to digital inclusion, create opportunities for national focus, promote international engagement and learning, and act as a catalyst to build an enduring coalition of national digital inclusion alliances and international efforts to create global momentum towards a fully digitally included world.