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A Notre Dame College alumnus is teaming up with actor Jason Momoa to bridge the digital divide in one of the poorest big cities in the country.

Joshua Edmonds, a 2014 graduate of Notre Dame, serves as the director of digital inclusion for the city of Detroit. Edmonds is featured in a video with Momoa, known for his role as Aquaman in the DC Universe film series, who met with leaders of the city of Detroit and at Rocket Mortgage to help bring awareness to the connectivity issue.

“Every kid in Detroit and really in America should have a computer. Not to play games or entertainment, but it’s much more to focus on learning on becoming the leaders of tomorrow,” Edmonds said in the MLive.com feature.

Rocket Mortgage Classic’s “Changing the Course” initiative has committed $2.1 million to Detroit’s Connect313 fund to build digital hubs in neighborhoods throughout the city. Rocket Mortgage is by Quicken Loans, which is headquartered in Detroit. The Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, located in downtown Cleveland, is a sports and entertainment arena in Northeast Ohio that is home to the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

The digital divide has become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, with students being forced to attend school remotely. Residents without access to computers or the internet also are unable to apply for jobs online and unable to access electronic health information, among other data.

“All these people … are aligning and coming together to say how do we build our own digital community garden where we want to grow the prosperity of the residents of Detroit,” Edmonds said to Momoa in the promotional video, which has been shared widely across social media. View the video on the RocketMortgage Facebook page.

Edmonds was hired as the first director of digital inclusion for the city of Detroit. He previously helped lead the deployment of more than $1.5 million of investments related to digital equity through The Cleveland Foundation.

Before working with the Cleveland Foundation, Edmonds was with the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, where he participated in the ConnectHome initiative, which fosters partnerships between localities, private companies and the federal government to increase the number of households nationwide with high speed internet.

Edmonds earned his Bachelor of Arts in English and Spanish from Notre Dame in 2014. At the College he was a leader with the track and field and cross country teams and participated in two study abroad experiences in Mexico. He was involved in the Spanish club, the philosophy club and the Student Athletic Activities Committee. At Notre Dame, 100 percent of all student athletes participate in service activities.

Detroit is second only to Cleveland, with 30.6 compared to 30.8 percent, respectively, of residents living below the poverty line, according to the 2020 census. In addition, 30 percent of people living in Detroit do not have access to computers, the Internet or related technology.

October 2020
Edward Pevos of MLive.com contributed to this article

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or pr@ndc.edu.