Poverty Solutions fellow Joshua Edmonds testifies before Congressional subcommittee

January 30, 2020

Joshua Edmonds (center), the city of Detroit’s director of digital inclusion and a digital inclusion policy fellow with Poverty Solutions at U-M, talks with U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, and Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, at a hearing before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 29. 2020. The hearing focused on how to create more “digital equity” for older adults, veterans, low-income families, disabled residents, small business owners and unemployed Americans. (Photo by Mike Waring, Washington Office)

Contact: Lauren Slagter, lslag@umich.edu

Digital equity efforts in Detroit garnered the attention of federal lawmakers on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when Joshua Edmonds testified before a U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

Edmonds is the City of Detroit’s director of digital inclusion and a digital inclusion policy fellow with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, a presidential initiative that aims to prevent and alleviate poverty through action-based research.

Related: Detroit economic mobility policy fellows use U-M support to tackle city’s pressing issues

Edmonds was one of five people called to testify at the hearing on “empowering and connecting communities through digital equity and internet adoption.” In his role with the City of Detroit, he has developed a strategy to increase internet subscribers in the city while promoting digital skills training and more access to computing devices. 

“In Detroit, we have developed public-private partnerships without any government funding, but it an unsustainable model,” Edmonds said at the hearing. “We need federal resources to continue our work. If we were to receive additional funding, we could do more robust outreach, and incentivize more localized funding from philanthropic organizations.” 

During his testimony, Edmonds outlined how digital equity and internet adoption affect people’s access to online banking, healthcare, job opportunities that require tech skills, participation in Census 2020, and their kids’ ability to do their homework.  

Read his full testimony, and watch video of the hearing below.