Dr. JR Sledge is a Leader in IT Training

Dr. JR Sledge is a Leader in IT Training

Born and raised in Detroit, Dr. JR Sledge was taught early on to dream big. 

“I learned that I could achieve whatever I put my mind to,” he says. “This was instilled in me at home and within the Detroit Public School system. As a result, I’m compelled to pay it forward and help others reach their potential.”

Paying it forward is exactly what JR is doing. He’s Detroit’s Senior Managing Director at Per Scholas, a national nonprofit that aims to advance equity and diversity in the tech industry. He is also Connect 313’s newly elected chair of the Structure and Operations Committee and a Connect 313 board member. It’s a role he eagerly took on after connecting with former colleagues who suggested he participate in our election process. 

“My areas of focus are all things Detroit and all things equity,” he says. “As a leader in IT training and Workforce development, it’s my aim to facilitate, not only the closure of the digital divide, but also the closure of the economic divide as it relates to tech for people of color. For me, this work begins with structure, policy, and guidelines.”

JR earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at University of Detroit Mercy and a Doctor of Education degree from Wayne State University. He previously served as an adjunct professor for Wayne County Community College, assistant superintendent at Inkster Public Schools, and an employment outreach specialist in the Civil Rights Inclusion office of the City of Detroit. 

In his new role at Connect 313, JR is committed to making sure the voices, values, and needs of all Detroit residents come first – no matter their zip code. He’s using his knowledge and experience to ensure equitable opportunities for all with a focus on simplicity and efficiency.

“I love the pride of the people of Detroit. Our city’s ability to lead and set trends that the rest of the world follows is like no other place on the planet,” he says. “Together, we will close the digital divide in our region.”

Have an idea for bridging the digital divide in Detroit? Let us know on our suggestions page here: https://connect313.org/suggestions/.

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Jordan Falby on Connect 313’s Grassroots Approach

Jordan Falby on Connect 313’s Grassroots Approach

Jordan Falby is a self-described “jack-of-all trades,” crafting grant agreements, offering technical assistance, collecting reports, and sharing metrics and information with the Connect 313 collaborative.

She is Connect 313’s Structure & Operations Program Manager, which pairs well with her role at United Way for Southeastern Michigan where she’s the Manager for Collective Impact & Digital Inclusion.

“The core mission of Connect 313 has always been driven by meeting people where they are now, listening to what actual Detroiters say, trying to do our best to align resources with what people actually need, and really trying to understand a layer deeper,” Jordan says.

One of her favorite aspects of Connect 313 is the grassroots approach that’s taken to get people the resources they truly need.

“Even though it’s harder to do it this way, we do not want to just come in and dictate,” Jordan says.

Each month Connect 313 holds meetings that anyone who lives, works, or learns in the City of Detroit can attend. At the meetings, people give feedback, are involved in the decision-making process, and discover local programs and services.

“We invite folks to come and give constructive criticism on any idea we’re looking to implement,” Jordan says.

An exciting pilot project helping to bridge the digital divide is the effort to begin building a high-speed fiber optic infrastructure in HOPE Village. Jordan hopes to see the publicly owned, privately-operated network expand throughout the city.

“A lot of the struggle for many people is you can get a device, but if you can’t afford to consistently have access to the internet in your home, so the device’s capabilities are limited,” she says. “By building this infrastructure we’ll be able to achieve more reliable, affordable service for Detroiters.”

To reach Jordan, email jordan@connect313.org.

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