DIGITALINCLUSIONPLAYBOOKCHARLOTTE DIGITAL INCLUSION ALLIANCEMISSION The Charlotte Digital Inclusion Playbook provides a comprehensive roadmap of key strategies for reducing Charlotte’s digital divide from 19% to 9% by 2026.VERSION 03.0PREPARED BY :CONTACT : BRUCE CLARKCREATION DATE :SHERRELL DORSEYPROJECT MANAGER, CDIAAUGUST 19 2017HOLLY MARTINCLARKB2@QUEENS.EDU
CHARLOTTE DIGITALINCLUSION PLAYBOOKTABLE OF CONTENTSSec. 00 Introduction–Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02Sec. 01 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 04Sec. 02 Purpose of this PlaybookSec. 03 Defining Charlotte’s Digital Divide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16Sec. 04 Defining Big Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20Sec. 05 Areas of Focus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Sec. 06 ACTION: The Plays . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Sec. 07 Calls to Action . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44Sec. 08 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46Sec. 09 Current and Past Members of Digital Inclusion Alliance . . . . . . . . . 48VERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCETHE PLAYBOOK14 PAGE 1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYAUGUST 2017The Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance,the CDIA has developed severalsupported by a grant from the John S. andrecommended “plays” to close Charlotte’sJames L. Knight Foundation, is focuseddigital divide. The development of thison strengthening digital equity in theplaybook for the Charlotte-MecklenburgCharlotte community. Development ofcommunity provides an assessment ofactionable strategies to achieve goalscurrent barriers to digital equity andremains paramount. Much like effortsinclusion, a timeline of local and nationaland policy-based programs put forth byinitiatives addressing these barriers,cities like Portland, Seattle, Kansas Cityand how stakeholders are makingand New York City, the Charlotte Digitalprogress on digital equity.Inclusion Alliance seeks to developan iterative Playbook of strategiesAdditionally, this Playbook expoundsthat can be adopted by local leaderswhat the Charlotte Digital Inclusionand community organizations.Alliance has defined as the official “plays”for realizing milestones toward digitalThe alliance is comprised of severalequity within Charlotte. These plays arelong-standing community stakeholderscomprised of six areas of focus, includingand organizations, individuals andaccess, technology, digital literacy,entities who have provided a range ofstandards and policy, advocacy,social services to residents over severaland opportunity.decades and have been diligent in theirwork to address inequality, poverty, andprovide a foundation of data, research,By formalizing strategies and creatingclosing the digital divide and ensuringTHE PLAYBOOKopportunities for knowledge sharing, PAGE 2It is the intent of the CDIA todigital access across the county.and activity to realize its goals ofdigital access to all Charlotteans.
00 /INTRODUCTIONTHE PLAYBOOK PAGE 3The information in this document is iterative and should be revised periodically as needed to reflect thechanges and progress of the Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance toward digital inclusion and equity inCharlotte-Mecklenburg County. This document outlines and defines the current state of digital equity anddigital literacy in Charlotte, assesses how local organizations are addressing digital equity, and providesa series of actionable solutions for reducing the city’s digital divide for the most vulnerable residents.
01 /BACKGROUND01.0 / BACKGROUNDThe road to internet access adoption and digital equity hasbeen a long-standing conversation in the City of Charlotteand Mecklenburg County and throughout the nation. Datingback to as early as 2013, Charlotte officials recognized thesocial and economic value of digital access and digitalliteracy for all residents to participate fully in society.Making technology accessible to everyone through digital and media literacy equips communitymembers with the tools to use technology in useful ways to improve their quality of life fromemployment opportunities to education to economic mobility.Expanding on this notion, a report, written by Renee Hobbs with support from the Aspen InstituteTHE PLAYBOOK PAGE 4Communications and Society and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, reveals:
“When people have digital and media literacy competencies,they recognize personal, corporate and political agendas and areempowered to speak out on behalf of the missing voices and omittedperspectives in our communities. By identifying and attempting tosolve problems, people use their powerful voices and their rightsunder the law to improve the world around them.”–RENEE HOBBSThe following timeline shares significant events and ongoing effortsspearheaded by local leaders and organizations in support of digitalinclusion efforts throughout the city of Charlotte.Charlotte Mayor Anthony R. Foxx declared March 21, 2013, to be the firstDigital Media Literacy Day.BACKGROUNDMARCH 21MAYORAL PROCLAMATIONSECTION ONE:2013The proclamation highlighted a resource and connected learning laboratoryhoused under the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens Universityin 2011, to raise the digital media literacy rate in Charlotte and partner withcommunity leaders and municipal agencies to unleash the power of technology toimprove the lives of Charlotte residents.The proclamation also noted that digital media literacy is a core community need.Furthermore, it noted that universal access to digital technology and a unilateralability to analyze and use digital technologies are key to closing the digital divideand creating strong democracies.GIGABIT CITYGoogle Fiber was expanding its gigabit service and inviting new cities to submit anapplication. As Charlotte prepared for the possibility of service, leaders becameconcerned that all areas of the City be wired for service, that no neighborhood beleft behind. Google Fiber’s previous methodology for providing gigabit service wasthrough neighborhood rallies, where only neighborhoods with sufficient demandwere fully wired for high speed service. Charlotte needed a plan to bring allneighborhoods along for this resource.The City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood Cabinet convened digital inclusionstakeholders to discuss an inclusion strategy. The Cabinet was composed ofVERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCETHE PLAYBOOKrepresentatives from nonprofits and governmental agencies across the city, PAGE 52015
2015including United Way, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Charlotte-MecklenburgSchools (CMS), Parks and Recreation, Mecklenburg County, educational institutions,Central Piedmont Community College, Arts and Science Council (ASC), CharlotteMecklenburg Housing Partnership, the Charlotte Housing Authority. As it began to workthe Cabinet realized that only a sustained and coordinated effort to address inclusionwould work. The Neighborhood Cabinet decided to use the coming year to focus on thisissue alone.The City convened a large stakeholder meeting, then asked for key stakeholders to helpwork on a strategic plan. CMS, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Knight Foundation,the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Urban League of Central Carolinas, andGoodwill of the Southern Piedmont began work on that plan. After quickly realizingthat devoted staff was needed to manage the effort, the Knight Foundation providednecessary funding to hire staff to manage the digital inclusion effort.Google Fiber announced its Charlotte fiber optic cable project on January 27, 2015,JANUARY 27making Charlotte one of few select cities in the nation to build the high-speed internettechnology infrastructure.Construction got underway in June of 2015, and internet service speeds reached up toJUNE 2015one gigabit per second. To help Charlotte residents and businesses keep abreast of thisproject, the City of Charlotte launched the Google Fiber Project Page to keep residentsand business owners abreast of the fiber deployment and development.DIGITAL INCLUSION FELLOWSHIPThe Nonprofit Technology Network, seeded by Google Fiber and the KnightFoundation, introduced its Digital Inclusion Fellowship pairing fellows with communityorganizations to help build digital inclusion programs in Google Fiber cities. Fromleading digital literacy courses to training volunteers, fellows selected in Charlottehave worked at the Urban League of the Central Carolinas, Charlotte MecklenburgLibrary, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership to close the digital divideJUNE 17in their communities. Next Century CitiesA June 17, 2015 memo from the Charlotte City Council provided details about Charlottebecoming a part of the Next Century Cities initiative. Next Century Cities, a nationalnonprofit organization with 80 member cities, supports communities and their electedofficials as they seek to ensure that all residents have access to fast, affordable,reliable internet.With Charlotte poised as a gigabit city, membership within NCC on the municipal levelTHE PLAYBOOK PAGE 6to learn and share best practices across the country toward digital equity is invaluable.VERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCE
CHARLOTTE DIGITAL INCLUSION ALLIANCE (CDIA)Originally formulated as the Charlotte Digital Inclusion Steering Team, the CDIA coreorganizing principles focus on connecting Charlotte residents with online resources,bringing together community, neighborhood, and faith leaders together withorganizations working to ensure everyone has affordable broadband access in thehome—as well as the resources to take advantage of it.CDIA includes representatives from the following organizations and public entities:City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools,Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Digital Charlotte, a project of Queens Knight Schoolof Communication, E2D–Eliminate the Digital Divide, Urban League of Central Carolinas,Charlotte Housing Partnership, Charlotte Works, Charlotte Hearts Gigabit, andGoodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.GovernanceAs members, these organizations have made the following commitments: Regularly attend meetings. Come prepared and ready to engage in conversation and planning thatadvances the CDIA’s collective ability to achieve the organizing principle. Actively promote the work of the CDIA to their respective organizationsand networks where they serve. Come to meetings with the mindset that everyone is approaching thechallenges at hand in reducing Charlotte’s digital divide with good intentionsand there is a mutual respect for every member. Be able to recognize and understand the personal and organizational biasesthat impact the ability to deliver equitable action plans.MembershipCommunity leaders and organizations interested in joining to help expandthe voice of the communities they serve within this playbook are encouragedto visit CharlotteDigitalInclusionAlliance.org/interest or call 704.688.2896.ManagementCharlotte’s first city-wide digital inclusion project manager, Bruce Clark, joined thecommunity-focused Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance—housed under the auspicesof the Digital Charlotte initiative—in August 2015 to develop a comprehensive planVERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCETHE PLAYBOOKfor internet connectivity for all in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. PAGE 72015
2015FEBRUARY 2016BEST MINDS CONFERENCEIn February 2016, the Queens Knight School of Communication partnered with AT&Tand Wethinknext to host Best Minds #CityJamCLT. At #CityJamCLT, representatives fromQueens University, Johnson C. Smith University, AT&T, Charlotte Mecklenburg Librarysystem, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the City of Charlotte, Code for Charlotte, localnonprofits and neighborhood organizations gathered to take ideas from prototype toplaybook. Prior to the event, the hosting team spent months visiting neighborhoodsaffected by the digital divide to build an accurate body of knowledge to bring to theevent. The “jam” engaged community members around solving the digital divideby creating prototypes based on collected research over 48 hours. At the eventconclusion, teams presented prototypes aimed at closing the digital divide in Charlotte.The research and prototypes generated by the Best Minds Conference informed thework of the CDIA.2016–PRESENTSPRING 2017COMMUNITY LISTENING SESSIONSDuring spring 2017, the Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance hosted a series of community forums with leaders and organizations to examine new ways to incorporate digitalliteracy into existing local programs. These topical discussions included conversationsaddressing workforce development, healthcare, seniors, students and youth, community building and social change, housing, and will include an upcoming forum addressingnon-native English-speaking households.“Healthcare”This session opened dialogue about opportunities to foster digital equitywithin the context of meeting the healthcare needs of the Charlotte-MecklenburgCounty community.The following reflect discussion outcomes on how technology/ internet accessimpacts health care and potential opportunities for digital inclusion organizationsto work side-by-side with local healthcare providers: Personal technology could help encourage and track prevention efforts byindividuals and groups, but preventive care is typically not a priority nor paidfor by insurance companies and programs. Software applications that present and archive test results have enormouspotential to educate patients and show progress over time, but people needto be educated on their use, and to change behaviors of how they accessmedical information. Collaboration among competing health care systems also could makemedical records more easily digestible and accessible. Some version of a technology “genius bar” could provide education andresources on how people can access information, records, costs, bills,THE PLAYBOOK PAGE 8and test results.VERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCE
This forum aimed to gather feedback from organizations and individualswho serve Charlotte-Mecklenburg County’s senior citizen population.The following reflect what opportunities exist to better equip senior citizenswith digital media and technology skills: Partnerships with internet service providers, YMCAs, recreation centers,and AARP identified as opportunities to create and distribute training. Recruitment of seniors to participate in training programs could begin In places of worship, healthcare facilities, and grocery stores. Pairing students with seniors at libraries could prove to be effectiveas seniors are more likely to go to the library as opposed to a senior center.“Students and Youth”In partnership with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Youth Council and GenerationNation,this forum spoke with youth about how access to internet and digital tools impactstheir education and economic opportunities.Feedback from these sessions revealed the following: Students use computer devices and/or access internet at school,their local library, coffee shops, or at home where available. At school, many websites (e.g. YouTube) are blocked, limiting students’access to retrieving information. Chief concerns about privacy and security were identified for studentsusing public wifi spaces in which they noted the potential for virusesor being hacked. Digital access to online applications for scholarships, textbooks,job applications were listed as important for students.“Community Building and Social Change”This forum addressed how communities can build digital equity in CharlotteMecklenburg in order for communities to grow and individuals to build digital skills.Attendees identified organizations they felt were leading change to address thedigital divide as well as social change within the community. Charlotte Action Research Project A project of the Universityof North Carolina at Charlotte, the program forges partnershipsbetween the University and marginalized communities in Charlotte.By integrating teaching, research, and action, the project aims to worktowards a larger agenda of social justice, enable neighborhoods toadvocate for themselves, and create sustainable neighborhoodcoalitions to implement structural change. Charlotte Uprising Charlotte Uprising is a coalition of community members,local and state organizers committed to ensuring the safety of theircommunities, and advocating for police accountability, transparencyand social and economic equity.VERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCETHE PLAYBOOKSPRING 2017“Crossing the Digital Divide at 55 ” PAGE 92016–PRESENT
2016–PRESENT DigiBridge Nonprofit organization that aims to equip shareholders withthe means to foster optimal use of technology in the learning environment,ensuring that all 21st century learners have opportunities to succeed in thedigital age. DigiBridge hosts STEM classes within Charlotte-MecklenburgSchools, summer programs for families and students, and hands-onrobotics events on weekends for youth. Leading on Opportunity Task Force The coalition established in 2013by Mecklenburg County, the City of Charlotte, Foundation for the Carolinas,the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the John M. Belk Endowment,comprises of a 19 volunteer member group which seeks to broaden economicopportunities for everyone in Mecklenburg County with a focus on affordablehousing, job training and education.Over the course of 18 months, the taskforce developed a study measuringintergenerational poverty and economic opportunity across MecklenburgCounty, releasing a report in 2017 providing recommendations for improvingoutcomes in the lives of the county’s most vulnerable residents.OPPORTUNITY “SYSTEM”STRATEGY“Housing”The Housing forum discussed the needs of internet service and digital accessopportunities among residents living in supportive and affordable housing programs. Itlooked at recent initiatives from internet service providers such as Comcast and GoogleFiber to provide low-to-no-cost internet solutions to public housing in cities such asChicago, Philadelphia, Austin, and Charlotte.Currently, Charlotte’s housing challenges include barriers to the development ofaffordable smart housing options and a lack of infrastructure to support high-speedTHE PLAYBOOK PAGE 10internet access across the city.VERSION 03.0CHARLOTTEDIGITAL INCLUSIONALLIANCE
“Data is the new water. We don’t really give landlords the optionto provide water services to their tenants. We have determinedthat water is part of making a place habitable. Data has becomesuch an important resource in homes that we really need tostart looking at it as the new water.”-GERALD WRIGHTVice President for Family ServicesHabitat for Humanity Charlotte“Business and Entrepreneurship”This forum brought together entrepreneurs and organizations to examine digitalequity factors needed to foster new businesses, along with the interplay betweendigital literacy and entrepreneurship, the role of privacy and security, and existenceof programs to teach technology skills. In 2016, the first Charlotte EntrepreneurGrowth Report found that the Charlotte area has been a booming hub of growingcompanies with billions of dollars of income, however it
CDIA includes representatives from the following organizations and public entities: City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Digital Charlotte, a project of Queens Knight School of Communication, E2D–Eliminate the Digital Divide, Urban League of Central Carolinas,
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Digital inclusion is defined in various ways and is often used interchangeably with terms such as digital skills, digital participation, digital competence, digital capability, digital engagement and digital literacy (Gann, 2019a). In their guide to digital inclusion for health and social care, NHS Digital (2019) describe digital
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