By: Maya C. James
We loved Digital Inclusion Week so much that we couldn’t just celebrate for seven days—so we decided to celebrate for a whole month instead.
October was NTIA’s first ever “Digital Inclusion Month.” With the overarching theme of “Connected Communities” we uplifted and highlighted our programs most focused on the communities and people we serve. From our Tribal grant programs to our Internet for All initiatives, we believe everyone needs a connection to be connected. This also means equipping every generation with the technical skills they need to survive in the digital world.
Here are some highlights from our 2023 Digital Inclusion Month
- National Spotlight on Digital Inclusion with the Secretary of Commerce: The Digital Equity Team collaborated with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to shine a national spotlight on digital inclusion and to encourage everyone, everywhere in America to get involved in creating a more inclusive digital future. The Secretary's remarks were shared with hundreds of companies, organizations, and individuals across the country participating in special events and campaigns designed to promote and increase digital inclusion and equity in their communities.
- Honoring the Community Voices Shaping the Future of Digital Equity: The Digital Equity Team amplified hundreds of voices that shared their thoughts on how NTIA should design and implement two components of its Digital Equity Act Programs to create better outcomes for all. NTIA honored their efforts by emphasizing the crucial role community input continues to play in achieving digital equity. The common themes that emerged from the community feedback NTIA received were published in a blog post on the Internet For All website to inform and inspire fellow digital equity champions.
- Digital Equity for Tribal Communities: As part of Digital Equity Month, NTIA’s Tribal Connectivity and Digital Equity Teams highlighted how Tribal Nations can create programs to connect to the Internet. The Tribal Broadband Leaders Network (TBLN) and the Digital Equity Leaders Network (DELN) featured a Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) awardee, the state of Maine, and a digital equity expert. This call highlighted the unique challenges faced by Tribes and how they can engage in NTIA programs such as the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program and the second round of TBCP funding. The insights shared by the speakers, the available technical resources, and the continued TBCP funding are valuable resources as Tribes continue to work with NTIA to close the digital divide and connect Tribal communities.
- Stewardship and Empowerment: The Digital Equity Team identified nearly 30 technical or human-centric digital equity and inclusion resources for high-level dissemination by NTIA’s Public Affairs team.
- Meeting Communities Where They Are: Through a diverse range of engagements, listening sessions, and community conversations, the Digital Equity team has connected with local news coalitions; creative economy workers; public servants dedicated to helping veterans and aging populations; city councils; Hispanic Serving Institutions; libraries and other community anchor institutions; Tribes; public housing authorities; rural and urban residents; women breaking glass ceilings in policymaking; domestic violence victim support networks; the White House Gender Policy Council; disability inclusive workforce advocates; governors and mayors; researchers; multiple other nonprofits; and sister federal agencies (among others). This extensive outreach ensures that NTIA is addressing the unique needs of each community and understands the challenges they face.
Digital Inclusion at NTIA does not end in October. Digital Equity and Inclusion efforts should grow and evolve to create sustainable, long-term impact for generations to come. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with what we will do next.