Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Ed Michiels
Marketing Director
Advantage Brokerage, Inc.

Video Clip 7: Ed Michaels (formerly unemployed)

Ed Michiels, Marketing Director
Advantage Brokerage, Inc.

In response to inquiry of Sewell Chan, NY Times:
Sewell Chan
Reporter | The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street | New York, N.Y. 10036

Re: Ed Michiels Testimony
Re: Broadband hearing - City Council committee meeting Brooklyn 5/23/2007.

Ed Michiels
Marketing Director
Advantage Brokerage, Inc.

After listening in attendance on 5/23/2007 to the comments of Mr. Thomas Kamber, Executive Director, (O.A.T.S.) Older Adults Technology Services and others; I am compelled to remark on my personal experience as a 911 survivor and recently re-employed Babyboomer.

Broadband access is essential to re-employment research, either personally or through community based programs.

Born in Brooklyn, and living in Brooklyn at the time of 911 here in NYC, and losing my employment in the financial district in lower Manhattan as a 911 survivor, I was employed as a Career Counselor at the 911 crisis center established in Brooklyn, at The Site provided by Goodwill Industies of NY and funded by the HRA dept of NYC. As such I provided services to those like myself who survived this event seeking re-employment.

After the program was closed, I was eligible to be accepted into a Community Program serviced by PACE University’s C.L.O.U.T. program. This program was funded to provide office professionals like myself with an opportunity to upgrade our computer skills, which resulted in a follow up internship and employment at a Fortune 500 (100) company.

That employment was recently terminated as a result of a corporate reorganization decision. As a 55 year old city resident it was necessary to use resources for employment research once again. The facts are the older we are the more challenging re-employment can become. Every resource available is a necessary resource that can impact our city budget by re-employing our citizens. Resources to address re-employment of our citizens is vital to people of all ages, especially those in pre-retirement age to avoid becoming a burden to the city.

The reality of today’s labor market is technology has impacted re-employment job research to the extent that now the NYS Labor dept issues an ATM card to former employees to receive unemployment benefits. That being the case, the city can use this as a resource to identify people who could be eligible for reduced broadband service rates.

In my case I formally had internet dial up service provided by AOL and switched to Time Warner Cable with a program that allowed AOL customers to receive this service for less than $20.00 per month. As this was a reasonable rate I choose to use broadband service from TWC, my cable service provider. The improved internet access improved my ability to reach out to prospective employers and keep in touch with family and friends. Avoiding isolation due to changes in employment is vital to address immediate needs both financially and socially. In today’s competitve economy, when faced with employment research, broadband access is as vital as telephone service.

Reasonable competitive rates should be made available to individuals who would qualify for these rates as negotiated under terms and conditions agreed to by the City Council and Broadband Service Providers.

I would also like to reaffirm the HIGH SCHOOL students who made comments at the hearing, in particular that 1 class, or year of computer training in high school today is inadequate to provide students with the basic skills they need to prepare for college education and lifetime employment. My 3 children have college educations and 2 have Master degrees. The internet broadband access they utilize is 2nd nature.

As programs servicing the community become more internet dependant for delivery of their services, access to broadband service needs to be affordable and accessible to all.

The budget of our public libraries need to be provided a line item resource to facilitate this need in our communities, for both staff and hardware in addition to cost effective residential and business broadband rates.

— Posted by Ed Michiels