Kurt Peluso, Regional Director
Prior to joining EveryoneOn, Kurt spent five years working for the YMCA as a program director. As a director, he developed new programs and continuously raised funds to support the community. He also worked in education and assisted the Social Studies department with learning disabled students performing below grade level.
Kurt received his B.A. from the University of Rhode Island in political science and English, and graduated with honors from Monmouth University with a Masters in history. Kurt also volunteers for his town as a councilman and youth coach.
The Digital Divide in the northeast
Within New Jersey, income is the most transparent divider of Internet access at home. Forty eight percent of households with an annual income less than $20,000 are able to get online, compared to the 94% of households earning at least $75,000. Households earning $35,000 a year or less have only a slightly higher rate at 55%.
According the American Community Survey 2016 data, 15.3% of the population, or 1.37 million people living in the state of New Jersey are unconnected to the internet at home. This unrealized economic potential is reflected in the areas of healthcare, education, workforce development, and financial inclusion.
Along with divides along county lines, internet connection and usage is strongly correlated with age. Among New Jersey residents at least 65 years old, only 73% have a computer. Sixty six percent of seniors have an Internet account, putting New Jersey 16th in the country – behind neighboring Delaware, but in front of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York. Breaking this by county, the wealthier counties once again have the highest rates of connected seniors. Morris County has the highest rate of connected seniors at 76%, followed by Somerset, Hunterdon, Monmouth, and Bergen.
On the other end of the spectrum though, 96% of New Jerseyans under the age of 18 have a computer, and 88% have Internet access at home.
In 2014, EveryoneOn partnered with the city to create a unique portal for residents to purchase home internet, everyoneon.org/newark. This website also allows residents to purchase a refurbished computer and offers free digital literacy classes. In 2015 the city expanded their commitment to connectivity by purchasing 1,200 hotspots through President Obama’s ConnectED initiative. EveryoneOn partnered with My Brother’s Keeper and other local nonprofits to distribute the devices. In order for beneficiaries to take full advantage of the hotspots, EveryoneOn partnered with New Outlook Pioneers in Morris County and delivered hundreds of refurbished computers at no cost. In 2017, EveryoneOn again partnered with the city of Newark to participate in Sprint’s One Million Project, through which 4,000 high school students are now connected.