A two-part series by Mobile Citizen’s Cassie Bair was recently featured on the NTEN website. The series shares the success stories of several organizations featured in the recent Digital Adoption in 2018 report created by NTEN and Mobile Citizen. The report provides a picture of how organizations are making decisions and addressing the challenges of internet access and use by both their staff and the communities they serve.
Part one of the series, How 2 Communities are Bridging the Digital Divide, focuses on the efforts of nonprofits that provide digital inclusion programming. In particular, it highlights the work of A Plus Kids and the Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation in Minneapolis and Cleveland. As trusted partners in the communities they serve, these nonprofits are in an important position to help community members who are not online find the relevancy, tools and skills to access the services, benefits and social connections that are available on the internet.
Part two of the series, Closing the Digital Divide in Public Schools, shares digital adoption success stories from the world of education. More specifically, it focuses on a program in Charlotte, North Carolina called Project L.I.F.T. (L.I.F.T. stands for Leadership and Investment for Transformation). This program is a unique public-private partnership between Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Charlotte’s philanthropic community, with a focus on four pillars, one of which is increasing connectivity and access to technology in and out of the classroom. By partnering with local schools and adapting to the needs of their community, Project L.I.F.T. has pushed through challenges and celebrated successes. When the organization was born, the high school graduation rate was an abysmal 51 percent. Today, the graduation rate for the 2016-2017 school year was nearly 90 percent.
These success stories and the results of the report are encouraging: more organizations indicate that they provide at least some form of digital inclusion programming than in 2015. However, while some gaps around digital adoption have started to close, new gaps have been identified in several groups of people: low-income families, students, seniors, immigrants and refugees, and unemployed individuals. Fortunately, the above case studies provide a path forward for addressing some of these gaps.
Learn more in the free Digital Adoption in 2018 report.