Digital Inclusion Strategies and Stories from the Field: TGH Chattanooga
The global pandemic has highlighted the critical need for home connectivity and local digital equity and inclusion efforts. Because the digital divide is systemic in its impact, it can and must be the work of whole communities, not lone organizations. A national leader in this arena, Tech Goes Home Chattanooga’s uniquely adaptable digital inclusion platform, offering training, device access and low-cost internet, has now partnered with more than 100 other local organizations — from non-profits to schools to churches to business accelerators — to implement programming.
Often, when we hear from a digital inclusion program, we hear exclusively from practitioners and advocates. In this session, panelists will share their experiences from the digital inclusion ecosystem in Chattanooga, offering differing perspectives from program leaders to volunteer trainers to course participants. Our goal is to offer a comprehensive look at one community’s connectivity strategy, providing ample time for Q&A.
Session Type60 minute session
- Attendees will develop a deeper understanding of the digital divide from a variety of perspectives
- Attendees will leave with replicable digital inclusion strategies, with a pandemic focus
- Attendees will be able to articulate key fundraising and policy talking points
Target AudienceOrganizational leaders and program directors interested in implementing, or who are beginning to implement, digital inclusion programming
Tech Goes Home Chattanooga
As part of the Digital Equity team at The Enterprise Center, Sammy is the Program Director for their Tech Goes Home Chattanooga program. Sammy’s background is varied as he worked for a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for five years, as well as founding initiatives such as Tennessee Code Academy and 100 Girls of Code while working at the business accelerator, The Biz Foundry. Sammy founded Chattanooga’s first collective working to help local hip-hop artists and creatives, Hip Hop CHA, and serves on the board of Soundcorps, a nonprofit dedicated to growing the music economy in the Chattanooga region. Sammy is married to Amy and has a beautiful daughter, Maggie.
Tech Goes Home
Mary Smith is the Program Coordinator for Tech Goes Home Chattanooga, the primary digital equity initiative of The Enterprise Center. She has worked with the organization for three and a half years, helping to partner with over 100 community organizations and schools and expanding the program reach to over 4,000 participants. With experience both as a college-level English Instructor and as a Social Services caseworker, she has a deep understanding of the impacts of digital literacy and access to technology.
Director of Assistive Technology Services
Lana Little is the Director of Assistive Technology Services at Signal Centers. Mrs. Little has her MS in Counseling from UTK with over 20 years experience working with people who have a wide range of disabilities. She is also a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and completed her Deaf-Blindness certification through Northern Illinois University with onsite training at the Helen Keller Center in Long Island, New York. She is the President of the Chattanooga University Community Lions Club, a member of the Scenic City Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind, a member of the TN Organization of the Deaf-Blind and is a member of the Choo Choo Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.
Velvet Hernandez-Johnson, a Guatemalan native, came to the United States as an international college student. She graduated with a degree in International Studies and Marketing from Harding University and completed a MBA from UTC. Velvet has a long tenure career at one of the largest Chattanooga-based insurance companies. During her free time, she enjoys community and volunteer work. Her main passions are in women’s and children’s advocacy, arts, and culture. She is a volunteer-technology teacher for La Paz and Tech Goes Home and serves on the board of The Creative Discovery Children’s museum. Velvet is also a strategic partner to Irie Love, her daughter’s initiative to provide care packages to Guatemalan children who work instead of attending school. In 2012, she was a recipient of La Paz Chattanooga Latino Leadership Award. And in 2014 she was recognized nationally as a Hispanic Young Achiever by the Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility. Hernandez-Johnson’s attributes her success to her parents for instilling a strong work ethic and love for people. She believes that sharing our talents with others in the community enriches the lives of all involved. Velvet lives with her husband, Eugene, and daughter, Irie, in Lookout Mountain GA.