In May of last year, we announced the first ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship (DIF), in partnership with Google Fiber, and with additional funding support from the Knight Foundation in Charlotte, N.C . In an effort to increase digital literacy and broadband adoption in digitally divided communities, we placed 16 Fellows in locally-based organizations in eight cities across the country.
We’re excited for the potential of a second year of the DIF. To start that process, we’re opening Fellowship City Host applications in several cities we’re considering for our next cohort. More program details about the next cohort will be available soon.
Fellows and their City Hosts have made much needed progress in addressing the digital divide. For example, Ruben Campillo is the Digital Inclusion Fellow for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. He has launched digital literacy classes at six locations throughout the city, prioritizing communities where Internet access is still unattainable for many residents. The classes, implemented in English and Spanish, not only taught nearly 100 local community members basic digital skills, but also offered low cost refurbished devices upon graduation, so that they could continue the learning at home. The classes also provided an incredible opportunity to bring diverse communities together; Ruben was able to recruit over 20 private sector volunteers to help tutor and support the students in learning to navigate their devices. Throughout the spring, classes are scheduled to extend to a total of five library branches and three to four community organizations, serving another 120 students.
While all current Fellows and City Hosts have made incredible progress, there is much more work to be done, which is why we’re extending the Fellowship for an additional year with the support of Google Fiber and Capital One.
During this pilot year, we learned a lot about what works well and what can be improved upon. In order to better support Fellows and their digital inclusion work, in year two we’ve decided to focus on the following types of organizations: libraries, housing authorities, and those dedicated to literacy and digital inclusion.
City host applications are available for the following cities:
- Atlanta – 2 City Hosts
- Charlotte – 1 City Host
- Kansas City, MO/KS – 1 City Host
- Portland, OR – 2 City Hosts
- Salt Lake City, UT – 2 City Hosts
- San Antonio, TX – 3 City Hosts
- San Francisco, CA – 2 City Hosts
And while we are not accepting City Host applications in the following cities, we will continue to have Fellows in:
- Austin, TX
- Nashville, TN
- Provo, UT
- Raleigh & Durham, NC
What Are We Looking for in a City Host?
Our current criteria for City Hosts, includes:
- Mission Alignment: City Hosts should serve adults and be one of these four types of organizations:
- Adult Literacy
- Digital Inclusion
- Public or Affordable Housing
- Leadership: City Hosts should be interested in becoming a leader on digital inclusion issues in their city and beyond.
- Community: City Hosts should already be connected to key demographics through existing direct service or location in digitally divided areas, and operate in target geographies.
- Management: We are looking for organizations with a clear plan for positioning the Fellow for success.
- Collaboration: City Hosts will be expected to collaborate (share lessons and knowledge, communicate about progress and challenges, serve as peers) with other City Hosts, in the same city and across the program.
If you are interested in learning more about the opportunity to apply for a City Host position, or have questions about the program, please join the upcoming Community Call on Wednesday, February 24, at 10 am pacific time.
Get more details about the City Host application, the expectations of City Hosts, and notes on how to apply at http://www.nten.org/community/dif/hosts/apply.