Truman School Graduate Jade Piros is the force behind Kansas' Broadband Development, Bridging the Digital Divide
Date: Sept. 12, 2023
In a time when reliable and affordable broadband connectivity is crucial for communities and economic growth, Jade Piros, a graduate of the Truman School of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Missouri, has emerged as a key figure in driving broadband development in the state of Kansas. We had the opportunity to sit down with Piros and discuss her journey, the impact of her education at Truman, and the strides made in expanding broadband access in Kansas.
Piros, who graduated from the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at Truman in 2022 as an online student, had a clear purpose when choosing the Truman School. She sought a program that offered public policy-focused electives in addition to public administration classes. This focus on public policy proved instrumental in her next step as a Kansas leader.
Reflecting on her time at the Truman School, Piros expressed her gratitude for the rigorous curriculum and emphasized its value as a professional development investment. "I use daily what I learned in the program, and it has made me a much more effective public servant," she remarked. The research classes equipped her with a deep understanding of Census data sets, which she frequently utilizes in her former and current role.
The emphasis on quality and concise writing in the Truman School has empowered Piros to draft memos and deliver compelling legislative testimony with ease. Moreover, courses on collaborative governance and strategic planning have proven invaluable, providing her with the tools to tackle complex challenges and drive effective solutions.
Piros's appointment as the Director of Broadband Development for the state of Kansas came just weeks after completing her MPA at Truman. The knowledge and confidence gained from her education propelled her to excel in this demanding position, overseeing the expansion of broadband access across the state.
When asked about any surprises during her time at the Truman School, Piros highlighted the abundance of resources available to students to ensure their success. Professors were readily available during convenient office hours and remained responsive to inquiries beyond those times. She particularly praised the writing lab, considering it a priceless resource that she wished she had during her undergraduate years.
Piros firmly believes that her degree from Truman has been incredibly useful, timely, and pragmatic. The program's curriculum struck a perfect balance between academic and practical skills, catering specifically to public service practitioners while being grounded in research-backed data. This comprehensive approach has equipped her with the tools necessary to drive impactful change.
As the former Mayor of Hutchinson, Kansas, Piros credited the Truman School for enhancing her performance in public office. The school introduced her to strategies for bolstering public policy positions with objective research, enabling her to communicate effectively, especially when voting on critical matters.
Since her appointment as Director of Broadband Development for the state of Kansas, Piros and her dedicated team have been hard at work. In just one year, the Kansas Office of Broadband Development has witnessed remarkable growth, administering over $100 million in grants, a substantial increase from the initial $5 million. Over the next year, they are set to administer over half a billion dollars in funding, making significant strides towards bridging the digital divide.
Piros's efforts have not gone unnoticed on a national level. She was recently invited to the White House for President Biden's announcement on broadband infrastructure expansion. It was there that she learned Kansas would receive a staggering $451.7 million to support the state's broadband initiatives, further bolstering efforts to ensure digital equity. Additionally, Kansas was awarded a competitive grant for middle mile broadband expansion, securing an additional $42.5 million to drive further broadband expansion in the state.
As Jade Piros continues her commitment to expanding broadband access in Kansas, her education at the Truman School of Government and Public Affairs has patently played a significant role in her success. With substantial investments and remarkable achievements already made, Kansas is well on its way to becoming a model for digital equity, showcasing the transformative power of dedicated individuals like Jade Piros in bridging the digital divide. Jade in undoubtedly a Tiger on the move!