World Education Submits Formal Comments for Digital Equity Act
February 2nd, 2022 | Blogs
February 2nd, 2022 | Blogs
The $2.75B Digital Equity Act, included within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, presents an unprecedented opportunity to bridge the digital equity divide. However, the challenge will be to ensure states strategically leverage funds to benefit the priority populations, including immigrants and refugees and the programs that serve them.
Technology is built into nearly every aspect of our daily lives and how we learn and work. The digital divide was wide before but as COVID-19 response measures forced schools, libraries, and community centers to close and workplaces to shift off-site, changes in our analog habits cut off a digital lifeline for millions of U.S. workers and families. Sadly, the digital fault lines that emerged reflect more than gaps in access. Digital divide persists even as Americans with lower incomes make gains in tech adoption. Affordability still remains the main barrier for millions of families not having access to broadband internet and Black and Hispanic adults in the United States remain less likely than White adults to say they own a traditional computer or have high-speed internet at home.
We at World Education through our projects and with our leadership in a coalition like Digital US are working to ensure that all of our community members have foundational digital skills and resilience to thrive in work and life. The EdTech Center @ World Education (ETC) is the leading provider of professional development to adult education and workforce development practitioners in the U.S. on integrating technology in instruction, developing digital skills, and advancing digital equity for adults still developing foundational skills. ETC also leads the Digital US national digital equity coalition between diverse stakeholders — including leading digital inclusion and workforce advocates and providers, researchers, policymakers, and employers — to ensure all adults have the digital skills and resilience to thrive in work and life.
World Education commends the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on a robust set of questions in this public comment opportunity. We have limited our responses to our area of expertise – digital equity – and specifically the NTIA’s questions on the Digital Equity Planning Grant Program.
The work under the Digital Equity Act (DEA) begins with statewide strategic planning for digital equity. This opportunity is in addition and complementary to the massive investments in broadband infrastructure in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and so DEA’s focus needs to be on adopting technologies and integrating quality technology use in the lives of community members who currently have inequitable access and adoption.
Read our detailed comments here.