April 25, 2023
The COVID-19 pandemic drove home the reality that not being on the Internet reduces job opportunities for adults, and can severely restrict young children’s education. BEING on the Internet can open social contacts to homebound seniors, get them medical advice, and arrange deliveries of prescriptions and other day-to-day needs.
Five years before COVID struck, a Knight Foundation grant helped launch an ambitious effort to close the digital divide in Mecklenburg. The Center for Digital Equity is housed at Queens University of Charlotte and is growing into its appointed task. Digital navigators were part of the presenting group at the Forum; part-timers are being hired. Five navigators will soon be focusing on helping residents at Inlivian assisted housing with digital equipment, access and training.
Executive Director Bruce Clark says few cities are as far along as Charlotte is in wrapping together charitable, foundation, business and government support to close the divide. In answer to a question, Clark said there are now wires or signals within reach of nearly every housing unit in Mecklenburg. The barriers are fees, equipment and training, It will take longer than a pandemic to close the divide, and will take many hands.
The Business Journal’s Erik Spanberg picked up one thing from the Forum meeting for his headline on a piece about Clark’s vision for the project– ‘All hands on deck‘: Leader in Charlotte’s digital equity campaign calls on corporate backing.” The story is behind the Journal’s paywall.
Below is the video from this morning’s presentation and Q&A. Below that: A 30-second promotional video on the program’s efforts.
Following the videos are the slides prepared for the meeting. All the slides can be downloaded as a PDF here.