Angela Siefer, Executive Director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance
Angela Siefer worked in digital inclusion long before the concept existed, at least by that name. Back in 1996, Siefer coordinated a regional community technology network in Toledo, Ohio, eventually moving on to conduct statewide initiatives. Today, she is the executive director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), a position she’s held since helping create the group in 2015. Conceived as a national advocate for federal policy, NDIA, under Siefer’s leadership, works with a growing number of local governments nationwide.
Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance @angelasiefer has worked for more than 20 years to make sure people have access to tech and the skills that go with it #govtech @netinclusion
Local leaders now seek out the NDIA to help ensure residents have equitable access to laptops, smartphones, broadband and Wi-Fi, and to the skills they need to operate them. Issues of digital inclusion have crept into city departments nationwide, from housing and health to economic development. Essentially, tech is now a vital part of everybody’s life, so much so that cities must help get it to all residents. Siefer and the NDIA help local governments act as facilitators for community groups and libraries, which have long been on the front lines of inclusion. They do so through advice, best practices, benchmarking and fostering information sharing among stakeholders in the space.
NDIA’s noteworthy efforts include establishing firm definitions of digital inclusion and equity, bringing attention to digital redlining and supporting an ongoing push for federal policy to fund digital inclusion. It’s a natural extension of work she’s done for decades. Siefer has helped physically set up computer labs in underserved areas, consulted on broadband opportunity networks, written grant applications, assisted with the Department of Commerce’s broadband adoption toolkit, and more. One gets a sense that as with technology, digital inclusion work is ever-evolving, and it’s nice to know Siefer and the NDIA are helping local communities and their governments keep up.