Transforming Immigrant Digital Equity (TIDE)

Get Involved in State Planning (for Community Organizations & Advocates)

The Digital Equity Act presents an unprecedented opportunity to ensure digital equity and inclusion for everyone in the U.S. This page provides guidance for adult education programs, immigrant-serving organizations, and other community organizations on how to get involved in their state’s Digital Equity Plan planning process.

What is a State Digital Equity Plan?

A state’s plan must include the following:

  1. The barriers to digital equity faced by covered populations in the state
  2. Measurable objectives for
    1. availability and affordability of broadband access, devices, and technical support
    2. digital literacy
    3. online accessibility of public services
    4. individual online privacy and cybersecurity
  3. An assessment of how the above objectives will impact and interact with the State’s economic, educational, health, social, and other outcomes
  4. A description of how the State will collaborate with key stakeholders to achieve the above objectives, including including community anchor institutions; nonprofit organizations; organizations that represent covered populations; civil rights organizations; workforce development program providers; State agencies administering adult education activities; public housing authorities; and/or partnerships between any of the above.
  5. A list of organizations with which the State’s administering entity collaborated on the Digital Equity Plan

Where are we now?

(Timeline from NTIA’s Digital Equity Act Programs Overview fact sheet.)

Over the past year, States have been drafting their Digital Equity Plans using their State Digital Equity Planning Grant funding. This process includes convening key stakeholders, disbursing funds to subgrantees for assistance in planning (if proposed), and collecting data on the barriers to digital equity faced by covered populations.

Before States finalize their State Digital Equity Plans, they are required to publish the drafts of their plans and solicit public input: States must hold a public comment period of at least thirty (30) days, consider all comments received during this public comment period, and incorporate any “worthwhile” comments. As of July 2023, multiple states have released their drafts for public comment.

View World Education’s Digital Equity Act tracker to learn who is leading Digital Equity Act work in your state, what public and stakeholder engagement opportunities your state is holding, and if your state has published their draft Digital Equity Plan for public comment.

This sheet is frequently updated, and World Education invites all stakeholders to submit any additional information they may have to support others’ advocacy efforts.

How do I get involved?

  1. Identify how your work connects to the Digital Equity Act using our Getting Started with Digital Equity Act Advocacy for Community-Based Organizations worksheet.
    1. Read our call to action for adult education leadership to understand why adult education involvement in the Digital Equity Act is critical.
  2. Identify who is leading Digital Equity Act work in your state using our Digital Equity Act tracker, and participate in any public and stakeholder engagement activities your state is holding.
  3. Identify what areas of the State Digital Equity Plan development and implementation process you are best positioned to be involved in, and contact the office leading Digital Equity Act work in your state to be included.
    1. Our Adult Education in Focus: An Annotated State Digital Equity Plan Template resource provides detailed guidance to adult education leaders, advocates, and providers on how adult education can support States in their work.
  4. Advocate for others in your field to also be included in State Digital Equity Plan development and implementation.
    1. Our customizable slide decks for adult education and for immigrant and refugee inclusion are designed to be used by leaders and advocates when educating their States on the importance of including their field and the communities they serve.
  5. Submit a public comment when your State publishes their draft Digital Equity Plan.
    1. Read our newest blog post to learn more about the public comment process and what adult education leaders and advocates should look for when reading their State Digital Equity Plans.
  6. Share your updates with World Education to support others’ advocacy efforts!

Guidance & Resources for Getting Started

NTIA Guidance & Resources for State Digital Equity Planning

Other Guidance & Resources for State Digital Equity Planning

What’s coming?

States have one year from the date they are awarded State Digital Equity Planning Grant funding to draft and finalize their Digital Equity Plan. For the next round of funding, the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant, States will be required to not only submit their finalized Digital Equity Plans, but also describe any changes they made to their plans in response to public comments and write a response to each comment they received.

Funding from the State Capacity Grant will support states in implementing their Digital Equity Plan over five years. Once states have received their State Capacity Grant funding, NTIA will solicit applications for the Digital Equity Competitive Grant, for which a number of entities are eligible.