Digital Charlotte recently launched a collaborative project designed to build digital inclusion in Mecklenburg County by creating partnerships with non-profit organizations.
New services from Digital Charlotte support the role that dozens of non-profits play in ensuring that people have access to devices, broadband networks, and education. The services include digital literacy curriculum, joint programming, and training to assist groups interested in improving the comfort level of their clients with technology and online networks.
“When a group trains volunteers at Digital Charlotte, they gain access to a whole range of resources, including a mobile lab, curriculum, and collaborational programming,” says Will Ward, Digital Charlotte’s community organizer.
Staff from Digital Charlotte trains volunteers at the offices of non-profit organizations, or on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte. In the volunteer training program, representatives of non-profit organizations are educated in digital literacy, technology skills, the context of digital inclusion issues, the value of these skills, and the importance of a connected community.
After completing training, the certified volunteers are then provided with monthly opportunities to volunteer at digital inclusion classes and events held by partnered organizations. These organizations also have access to the Digital Charlotte mobile computer lab, allowing the check-out of equipment for training events.
Digital Charlotte supports a wide range of local groups and organizations, all of which work together to bridge the digital divide. Organizations that include E2D, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Queen City Forward, Livable Meck, and the City of Charlotte already have partnered with Digital Charlotte.
“There is so much work that needs to be done out in the community,” Ward says. “And often times it’s very easy for us to get lost in our bubble and forget about those who really could benefit from the knowledge that we’re providing.”
John Bernd, an intern at Digital Charlotte, is a student in the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte.