Digital Navigators: Connecting Communities

​Welcome to Digital Navigators: Connecting Communities!

Who We Are

We are committed to digital inclusion and driving access and opportunity for all. Digital Navigator (DN) services are flexible, customized supports to connect community members to: internet access, devices (loaned or given), and digital skill acquisition. The Digital Navigator services model was designed by the Digital US Coalition, led by World Education, in 2019 and then adapted and scaled through partners such as National Digital Inclusion Alliance to address both digital access as well as learning and upskilling, and at scale.

A visual representation of the 3 components of digital literacy: digital skills, device access, and internet access

This project supports the co-design of digital navigation services at four community based organizations (CBO) in cities throughout the United States. Through intentional conversations we are able to explore and integrate digital navigation services into each CBO to ensure that community members are supported to obtain technology access and success in accomplishing their goals online, whether for education, career, economic advancement, family and community engagement, or other pursuits.

Our Vision

We believe in co-creating digital navigation services for community transformation. Our model centers around uplifting navigators in the communities we’re serving and leveraging local resources and community members. Our approach means connecting with the communities we serve to explore their needs and aligning services, not giving them a one-size-fits-all model that leaves them with needs unmet.

We take a REAL co-designing approach with every location we support:

  • Recognize: Explore digital needs of their community and outline the value of Digital Navigation services
  • Empower: Develop and support customized strategies which enhance current offerings through co-design, coaching, and resource dissemination
  • Align: Correlate and align site capacity to expressed community digital needs including device access, internet access, and digital skills training
  • Leverage: Connect sites to local organizations, community members, businesses, and other stakeholders to strengthen community’s digital resilience
A graphic image depicting the 9 key areas of digital navigation services and support offered by the World Education team

Our Work

CitySquare fights the causes and effects of poverty through service, advocacy, and friendship. Since their beginnings in 1988 to present day, CitySquare has grown into a broad nonprofit organization offering a comprehensive array of social services that address four key areas related to the persistence of poverty: hunger, health, housing, and hope. Their social service programs provide more than 50,000 human touches in Dallas and Paris, Texas.

The Coalition for Responsible Community Development (CRCD) is a place-based community development corporation in South Los Angeles with a unique focus on young people ages 14–26. They are committed to partnering with residents, businesses, community-based organizations, civic leaders, and the local community college to improve the quality of life in South Central LA. Their mission is to sustain, coordinate, and improve local planning, development, and community services that address the needs of low-income and working-class residents and small businesses in South Los Angeles.

El Centro, Inc.
El Centro helps Hispanics and Northeast Mississippi residents integrate into the local community. They provide services including after-school tutoring, adult English classes, and workshops on a variety of topics relevant to the community. El Centro works to meet the needs of their community through bilingual opportunities and partnership with local organizations to offer these services.

Jefferson East, Inc.
Jefferson East represents 5 distinct neighborhoods along the East Jefferson corridor in Detroit, MI and provides programming within a boundary area of 18.4 square miles and represents approximately 42,200 residents. JEI affectionately calls the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood “homeland”. It’s where the organization formed and dedicated its mission to supporting growth and change in the area by partnering with neighborhood residents and businesses to support development, greater resources, and investments.

Context Matters

There is a great inequality that exists in our modern world — digital exclusion. Digital exclusion locks many people, particularly black and brown communities, out of opportunities, with considerable costs to them and our wider society. Digital exclusion refers to those who lack access to technology and foundational digital skills training… In building this ecosystem, it is important to consider how the people you serve will be able to access all of the elements of digital inclusion (affordable connectivity, affordable devices, digital literacy skills, or tech support).” – Digital Navigator Playbook