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What’s New in Civic Tech: The State Digital Equity Scorecard

Plus, Michigan announces $15.3 million boost to grants for projects that improve resident connectivity, San Jose, Calif., launches a community-built platform to connect youth with mental health services, and more.

States
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) has launched the State Digital Equity Scorecard, which offers information about the work being done by individual states, benchmarking goals and best practices for states working on digital inclusion.

This new score — which the NDIA developed in partnership with Microsoft and the National Skills Coalition — assesses participating states based on a set of six criteria: data on digital skill needs; comprehensive planning to address digital skill gaps; online digital skills training; incumbent worker training funds; technology apprenticeships and digital equity within state broadband plans.

This scorecard speaks to how prevalent this work has become during the pandemic, as well as in response and recovery efforts, with a philosophical shift continuing within government.

“More and more states are strengthening their efforts in addressing digital inequities,” said NDIA Executive Director Angela Siefer in a statement. “The scorecard visually defines the differences between the states while providing a resource for which we haven’t had until now — best practices and state-by-state resources.”

Essentially, access to the Internet as well as the skills to use it in meaningful ways is evolving to become a major priority for government at all levels.

As the info released with the scorecard indicates, this work of course has a significant and direct connection to the private sector. For example, of an estimated 9.8 million job openings in the country right now, as many as 6.9 million require digital skills. This comes as the country’s highest officials warn of an ongoing labor shortage. Investing in digital skills training at the state government level is, perhaps, a necessity in preparing potential employees for these open jobs.

The full scorecard can be found on the NDIA’s website. (Zack Quaintance)

MICHIGAN ANNOUNCES $15.3 MILLION FOR PROJECTS SUPPORTING CONNECTIVITY


Michigan is putting $15.3 million in funding towards bringing high-speed Internet access to its residents, state officials announced last week.

The funding, which is expected to bring service to 6,700 locations, comes through the Connecting Michigan Communities grant program, according to the release. The annual economic benefit could be up to $12.4 million.

The grant program was established in response to high-speed Internet access becoming increasingly essential for the workforce and education. All of this new funding is intended to go to expanding broadband infrastructure and providing Internet access. The announcement states that all projects that have been awarded funding have committed to providing digital literacy training materials to those in the area. (Julia Edinger)

SAN JOSE, CALIF., LAUNCHES DIGITAL ACTION CORPS AND MENTAL HEALTH PLATFORM


The Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI) in San Jose recently launched a mental health platform through its Digital Action Corps initiative.

The Digital Action Corps involves members of MOTI working with high school and college students to find digital solutions to problems affecting San Joseans.

The new platform, OneSJ, is intended to connect young residents to mental health services in the city and the wider San Francisco Bay Area. It allows users to filter services, using categories like “free,” “addiction” or “LGBTQIA.” The platform is offered in three languages.

For more information on OneSJ, visit the website. (Julia Edinger)
Associate editor for Government Technology magazine
Julia Edinger is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Toledo and has since worked in publishing and media. She's currently located in Southern California.