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#SpotlightOnCLT: Digital Equity

#SpotlightOnCLT: Digital Equity

This month we will shine our #SpotlightOnCLT on Digital Equity and highlight the nonprofit organizations who are working in our community to make access to devices, skills, training and digital literacy possible.

You have probably heard about the Digital Divide which simply refers to the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet, and those who do not.  

However, as with everything there is an evolution and new understanding of what we must evolve to, which is Digital Equity. 

Digital Equity is a condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy.  Digital Equity is necessary for civic and cultural participation, employment, lifelong learning, and access to essential services. (National Digital Inclusion Alliance)

Here in Mecklenburg County there is significant work being done through leadership by the Center for Digital Equity, led by Bruce Clark who acts as a central unifying entity with established funding, governance, and accountability which amplifies and organizes the Digital Divide ecosystem around value-add strategies and initiatives. 

The CDE is in partnership with a variety of partners including many from our nonprofit sector to have a goal “To Make Mecklenburg County the most digitally equitable community in America”.

We are excited to highlight this month the work that these organizations below do to create Digital Equity with the community members that they serve:

March #SpotlightOnCLT Nonprofit Partners:

  • Apparo -  is a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits do more good in Charlotte by harnessing the power of corporate skilled volunteers to solve their business and technology problems.

  • ChickTech - The STEM gender gap remains vast and exists at nearly every stage of women's lives. Although these careers offer huge potential, there continues to be a lack of cohesive strategy to fully engage girls and increase retention in STEM education and careers. From early on girls face a lack of opportunities to engage and stay in STEM, which is highlighted by the fact that women only fill approximately 25% of computing careers. It is even direr when looking at roles filled by BIPOC women - only 5% Asian, 3% Black, and 1% Hispanic. The STEM divide begins much earlier: only 18% of college women study computer science or engineering. These barriers fuel ChickTech’s mission of gender equality in STEM through an integrated approach that builds a diverse pipeline and career retention.

  • Discovery Place - Discovery Place’s staff and volunteers are working to address science achievement gaps and lessen the digital divide for young people across the communities we serve.  For more than 30 years, we have delivered youth development programs.  We are addressing the digital divide by encouraging young women and people of color to pursue careers in the sciences, technology and engineering.  Current programs include Girls in STEM, Club Code, and STEM Pathways, among others. We are creating a pipeline for a homegrown workforce of future scientists, engineers, educators, and more.  We are giving young people who grow up here access to the knowledge, skills and social capital to enter careers in the booming industries of our region.  They take part in educational experiences such as workshops and networking opportunities with professionals who are critical to helping the young people build the social capital that provides an important foundation for their careers.

  • Do Greater Charlotte - Many youth in underserved communities in Charlotte don’t have access to advance tools and technology, a creative space for exploration and a nurturing community of support.  These youth also are not exposed to tremendous opportunities that await them in creative careers.  These “Corridors of Opportunity” have some of the highest poverty rates, high school drop out rates and 1 in 3 youth or young adults aged 16-24 are unemployed

  • Dottie Rose Foundation - Dottie Rose Foundation is building the next generation of female technologists by equipping them with the skills, confidence and voice to be creators versus consumers of technology. Augmented by scholarships, mentoring, and leadership opportunities - our high-touch, engaging interactive programming empowers girls to leverage their talent, passion and tech skills starting in middle school and continuing through college and career.

  • E2D- Eliminate the Digital Divide - Charlotte has an unbelievably well formulated and highly active digital inclusion ecosystem. E2D's highly effective coordination of and primary distribution of computers in this community continues to be directly related to getting computers from corporate Charlotte and beyond. The results of your assistance right now can and should end up with the most digitally inclusive municipality/city/county in the nation.

  • GEN III Alliance and Productions - Our organization launched Project Save our Generation in 2020 to address conflict through artistry and shine a light on the importance of mental health awareness. Our challenge we are trying to resolve is making resources attainable for our constituents who cannot participate in our program or who are not aware of the resources that are available. Our innovation has been to expand our audience through video production. We have been able to reach those who suffer from mental illnesses by displaying awareness and telling their stories. 

  • Hack & Hustle Social Entrepreneurship Academy, Inc. - We are working to increase economic mobility, helping to bridge the Digital Divide,  provide STEM and Entrepreneurial skills development, and improve mental wellness for underserved youth.

  • Innovate Tech Charlotte - Every student needs a foundation in technology no matter the career field they are pursuing.

  • INTech Camp for Girls - The tech industry has a distinct lack of skilled Black and Latinx women. We are a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring girls to be part of the next generation of technologists. Our mission is to inform and inspire girls to innovate in the technology industry.

  • She Built This City - Like many other regions of the country, Charlotte is seeing a severe labor shortage of skilled trade workers. She Built This City knows that many young people will not choose the trades as a career path unless they are exposed to a trade prior to 6th grade. We are working to create a pipeline for the future of the trades through youth programming that sparks interest in the trades. 

  • Queen City Robotics Alliance - We work with local youth to cultivate creative and cognitive skills for a future STEM-capable workforce to fill the current talent gap. We nurture the future workforce by providing practical hands-on STEM experiences, with a vision to ensure that all students are equipped and prepared for their future paths.

Get involved with their important work by signing up to volunteer, making a financial donation, or shopping from their Amazon wish lists today! 

  Follow with us through #SpotlightOnCLT on Facebook, Twitter, and more!

Share With Us!

We have so much great news to share from our nonprofit partners about their amazing work. But, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know if you have stories you'd like to tell and we'll make you a guest blogger!!