9. INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE

State grants fund digital navigation services to help new internet users get online – Washington State Department of Commerce

State grants fund digital navigation services to help new internet users get online – Washington State Department of Commerce
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State grants fund digital navigation services to help new internet …  Washington State Department of Commerce

State grants fund digital navigation services to help new internet users get online – Washington State Department of Commerce

Washington State Broadband Office awards $14.5 million to provide one-on-one technical support, devices, and subscriptions to facilitate internet use and adoption

OLYMPIA, WA — Most of us take the internet for granted, yet nearly 240,000 Washington households do not have access to high-speed internet, and 4% do not have access to a computing device. This week the Washington State Department of Commerce announced $14.5 million in grants to continue expanding access to the internet through digital navigator services.

Digital navigator services are essential in helping new internet users get online. These grants, awarded to three organizations, will provide resources to support individuals seeking work, families with students, English language learners, Medicaid clients, people experiencing poverty and seniors.

Emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

  1. SDG 4: Quality Education – The grants aim to support families with students and English language learners, ensuring equal opportunities for education.
  2. SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth – The grants aim to support individuals seeking work, providing them with access to online job opportunities.
  3. SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities – The grants aim to bridge the digital divide by providing internet access and digital skills training to marginalized communities.
  4. SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities – The grants aim to create a connected Washington by expanding internet access statewide.
  5. SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals – The grants involve partnerships with community-based organizations to ensure the success and sustainability of the digital navigator services.

Grant Recipients and Projects:

  • Equity in Education Coalition – $10,223,042 million

    • Partners with 39 community organizations led by multilingual and multicultural staff.
    • Provides cultural and linguistically appropriate curriculum and digital skills training in communities of color.
    • Offers community-embedded digital literacy skills, multilingual call-in center, and distribution of internet-capable devices.
  • Community Health Network of Washington – $3,846,000 million

    • Partners with community and neighborhood health clinics and centers.
    • Delivers digital navigation support through a network of 21 nonprofit Community Health Centers.
    • Provides Link to Care WA hotline, web-based digital literacy skills training, and distribution of devices to patients in need.
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe – $430,958

    • Collaborates with various organizations to ensure access to digital navigation services.
    • Offers digital skills classes, devices, Wi-Fi connectivity, and discounted or free internet services.

“Being able to use the internet is a necessity, not a luxury,” said Commerce Director Mike Fong. “Support for digital navigators is a successful strategy – these programs open equal opportunities for people to thrive, especially community members who may be struggling to reach their full potential.”

The digital navigator services funded by these grants will include a hotline where community members can receive or schedule an appointment with a digital navigator, the distribution of internet-capable devices, and digital skills training. These projects are in partnership with various community-based organizations, such as regional libraries, healthcare providers, and both multicultural and education-focused nonprofits. The projects awarded funding will offer statewide and regional digital navigator services over the state fiscal year July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024.

“We are proud of the work that we’ve been doing and we are grateful to the Department of Commerce and the state legislature for their full faith and recognition of the work we’ve been doing since 2020. Access to the internet and hardware are basic human rights, just like access to education, water, and housing. We look forward to partnering with Commerce to ensure that all Washingtonians have what they need to thrive in a connected Washington,” said Equity in Education Co-Founder/Executive Director, Sharonne Navas.

“Eliminating technological barriers to health care by putting phones in people’s hands, connecting them to the internet, and equipping patients to navigate technology, improves people’s health and access to employment, education, and other essential social supports,” said Leanne Berge, CEO at CHNW and CHPW. “This funding from the Department of Commerce will help us promote the Link to Care WA Hotline and provide digital navigation services to more people across the state, through community health centers, other healthcare providers, and community-based organizations. As a result, we’ll improve people’s comfort and confidence in using their phone and online tools to manage their health care, including making appointments, managing prescriptions, and connecting with their care providers.”

“The Nisqually Tribe is excited to be able to add digital navigation instruction to the community with this award from the state Department of Commerce,” said Willie Frank III, chairman of the Nisqually Indian Tribe. “This will allow us to add critical education to tribal and non-tribal members that will focus on introductory technology help, educational apps and skill training with devices that access the internet, such as smart phones, personal commuters, e-readers and more. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to expand the services we can offer as part of our internet infrastructure work.”

Commerce received 26 applications requesting more than $115 million, underscoring the need to connect more residents to the internet and to provide them with the skills needed to participate fully in our digitally connected society.

“We’re confident that the three organizations that have been awarded these grants will serve as a force multiplier in providing access to a suite of digital navigation services across our state through diverse community-based partnerships,” said Commerce Digital Equity Managing Director Lisa Heaton.

“The digital world requires the ability to constantly adapt to change,” said Broadband Office Director Mark Vasconi. “To maximize the impact of the limited funds available this biennium, we used a consortium model to leverage the experience of organizations that can work with at least three separate entities to provide statewide or regional services to residents through long-term, sustainable strategies.”

This is the third year of Commerce Digital Navigator Program grants and the first funding cycle of the 2023-25 biennium. In its short history, the Digital Navigator Program has supported more than 213,000 Washington residents to access digital navigation services, devices, skills, or subscriptions.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 4: Quality Education
  • SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

The article addresses the issue of limited access to high-speed internet and computing devices, which is relevant to SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) as it focuses on expanding access to affordable and reliable internet connectivity. The article also highlights the importance of digital navigation services in supporting individuals seeking work, families with students, English language learners, Medicaid clients, people experiencing poverty, and seniors, which aligns with SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities). Additionally, the partnerships between various community-based organizations mentioned in the article contribute to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship.
  • Target 9.c: Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the internet in least developed countries by 2020.
  • Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status.
  • Target 11.a: Support positive economic, social, and environmental links between urban, peri-urban, and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning.
  • Target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources.

Based on the article’s content, the specific targets that can be identified are related to increasing access to relevant skills for employment (Target 4.4), increasing access to the internet (Target 9.c), promoting social and economic inclusion (Target 10.2), strengthening development planning (Target 11.a), and enhancing global partnerships (Target 17.16).

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

Yes, there are indicators mentioned in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets:

  • Number of individuals who receive digital navigation services
  • Number of individuals who receive digital skills training
  • Number of internet-capable devices distributed
  • Number of individuals with access to affordable internet services
  • Number of individuals who benefit from the Link to Care WA hotline

These indicators can be used to measure progress towards the targets by tracking the number of individuals who benefit from the mentioned services and resources.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 4: Quality Education Target 4.4: By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs, and entrepreneurship. – Number of individuals who receive digital skills training
– Number of individuals who benefit from the Link to Care WA hotline
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure Target 9.c: Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the internet in least developed countries by 2020. – Number of internet-capable devices distributed
– Number of individuals with access to affordable internet services
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities Target 10.2: By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, or economic or other status. – Number of individuals who receive digital navigation services
– Number of individuals who benefit from the Link to Care WA hotline
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities Target 11.a: Support positive economic, social, and environmental links between urban, peri-urban, and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning. – Number of individuals who receive digital navigation services
– Number of internet-capable devices distributed
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals Target 17.16: Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology, and financial resources. – Number of individuals who receive digital navigation services
– Number of individuals who benefit from the Link to Care WA hotline

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: commerce.wa.gov

 

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