Invest Newark, Urban League launch Tech House — an effort to bring high-speed internet, STEM classes to more of city

Invest Newark, in an effort to bridge the digital divide by bringing high-speed internet and STEM classes to more Newark residents, announced Thursday that it has launched the Tech House in partnership with the Urban League of Essex County.

Fast and reliable internet access is essential to empowering traditionally disenfranchised communities. As such, Invest Newark is expanding Newark Fiber in various places throughout the city, including public housing and public schools, and now the Tech House.

The Tech House will be located in a 19th-century, 10-room Victorian house at 152 Littleton Ave., which the Urban League of Essex County has converted into a technology training and education resource site facilitated by Newark Fiber for disadvantaged residents of the Fairmount neighborhood.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is thrilled by the development.

“The high-speed internet access and tech education provided at the Tech House have the potential to change the lives of countless Newark residents,” he said. “By offering these services, we are providing Newarkers the opportunity to learn necessary skills to enhance their careers and invest in their future. We are grateful to Invest Newark and Urban League of Essex County for their commitment to bringing this resource to the Newark community.”

Invest Newark CEO Bernel Hall agreed.

“Invest Newark believes in providing residents with access to opportunities to better their lives and help close the wealth divide,” he said. “We are thrilled to partner with Urban League to equip the Tech House with Newark Fiber, as access to high-speed internet and tech education is an essential step toward empowering the Newark community.”

The Tech House also will provide computer literacy training to Newark residents, serve as a professional development center for teachers interested in enhancing their knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, and other forms of digital technology, and provide college students pursuing tech education with hands-on experience teaching STEAM skills to middle- and high-school students to prepare them for entry into college and the high-tech workforce.

The Tech House is powered by Newark Fiber, which is an innovative program that offers gigabit and 10 gigabit internet connections in participating residential and commercial buildings, recreation centers, parks, streets and, eventually, in single-family homes.

Urban League of Essex County CEO Vivian Frasier said the importance of high-speed internet cannot be overstated.

“Since our founding in 1917, the Urban League of Essex County continues to fight on many fronts to secure the rights and liberties of African Americans and other disadvantaged minorities,” she said. “And, in a world shaped and propelled by rapid advances in technology, no fight is of greater significance in the 21st century than the digital equity and inclusion of the constituency we serve.

“We are committed to working with the city of Newark and Invest Newark to construct a fiber-optic infrastructure in Newark’s most underserved communities that will enable the Newark residents receiving specialized technology training at the Tech House to compete on a level playing field.”