October 7, 2019 was not only the first day of National Digital Inclusion Week, it marked the inaugural meeting of the Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN), a conference hosted at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Public and private foundations joined forces to fund public interest technology research, training programs, and curriculum at colleges and universities across the country. The collaboration is designed to create a pipeline of future technologists and policy leaders who are committed to working for the public good.

Supporting a talent pipeline is an essential component of Next Century Cities’ long-term goal to help municipalities achieve universal broadband connectivity. Executive Director Francella Ochillo represented Next Century Cities in the career building workshop featuring students and alumni from public interest technology programs. As Harvard Professor Latanya Sweeney, Ford Foundation President Darren Walker, and filmmaker Ava DuVernay discussed on their panel, followed by remarks from Federal Trade Commissioner Noah Phillips and Federal Communications Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, bridging the digital divide will require an ongoing supply of talent, resources, and innovative ideas.