Philadelphia, PA has released its five-year Digital Equity Plan which outlines the existing barriers to digital equity, including: affordability and access to broadband and devices; language; race; limited digital literacy skills; disabilities; and more, and how to address them.
“The pandemic has shown that internet and device access is essential for daily living—including accessing health care and government services, closing the homework gap, and supporting a 21st century workforce,” said Mark Wheeler, the City’s Chief Information Officer. “The creation of the Digital Equity Plan and the official decree of the policy will help the City better address the various issues that contribute to the digital divide. Philadelphia’s digital equity work now has a strong foundation through better resourcing, strategies, goals, and an overall understanding of the city’s needs.”
The Digital Equity Plan contains four key goals:
- Philadelphians can access appropriate and affordable technology devices;
- Philadelphians can access and afford the internet connectivity they need;
- Philadelphians will develop the digital skills necessary for work and life; and
- Philadelphia grows and sustains the capacity and infrastructure required to increase digital equity.
“The Digital Equity Plan is a strong, detailed blueprint for bringing true and lasting equity to digital access and literacy, which are cornerstones of adult education in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Christine Piven, Executive Director of Adult Education in the Office of Children and Families. “This plan points the way to how we must collaborate to make true gains and to help residents reach their goals. I’m tremendously excited by the release of the plan.”
To achieve these goals, the The Digital Equity Plan has the objectives of : funding initiatives that support digital equity across Philadelphia, including PHLConnectED, Digital Navigators – the City’s network of public computing centers and digital literacy courses; working with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania about digital equity needs; and forming public-private partnerships to encourage engagement in digital equity work.
“Philadelphia will continue its diligent work toward establishing digital equity for all,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “The executive order establishes a policy that emphasizes the importance of digital equity for our city and enables the creation of the city-wide Digital Equity Plan. As the City works to achieve digital access for all Philadelphians, we will continue to invest in and support resources within the Office of Innovation and Technology to drive this work as well as expand cross-departmental collaboration to implement the policy and plan.”