Tech within Reach—Best Practices for Including No-Tech and Low-Tech Communities into our Work

Problem Statement

Overcome the challenges of reaching, serving, and fully including populations on the other side of the digital divide. Make your programs accessible and inclusive of those with little to no access to technology.

How wide is your inclusivity net cast in your community? As digital inclusion experts, we’ll help you better understand who no-tech and low-tech populations are and how to reach and serve them. With many outreach strategies and nonprofit programming based in a digital world, people on the other side of the digital divide are frequently left out. You’ll leave with an understanding of what digital inclusion can mean at your nonprofit and real strategies to help your organization creatively reach and serve clients who have little to no technology access.
Four practitioners in the digital inclusion space will share their stories on how to make technology accessible to diverse communities:

  • Elizabeth Lindsey is the executive director of Byte Back, a DC-based nonprofit that helps unemployed and underemployed DC-area residents gain technology skills and move into living wage careers.
  • Alex Glazebrook is the Director of Training & Technology of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS), based in Brooklyn, which has helped over 20 thousand senior citizens get online and built more than 30 free technology centers.
  • Kushaan Shah launched the nonprofit start-up Social Rise at the age of 22. He is passionate about digital inclusion and finding creative ways to bring social media skills to under-connected populations in DC.
  • Delano Squires, director of DC’s Connect.DC digital inclusion initiative, has helped bring innovative digital inclusion solutions to the city, including a Mobile Tech Lab.
Elizabeth Lindsey
Byte Back, Inc.
Executive Director
Elizabeth Lindsey is the Executive Director of Byte Back, a nonprofit improving economic opportunity by providing technology training and career preparation to underserved Washington, DC area residents. For 20 years, Byte Back’s programs have provided a pathway to tech skills, leading a diverse group of graduates to higher rates of self-confidence and successful careers. Prior to joining Byte Back in 2015, Elizabeth served as the Chief Operating Officer of Groundswell. She oversaw its evolution from a start-up, community-based organization into a nationally-recognized social enterprise. She also worked in workforce development and with minority and women small business development after earning her master’s in public affairs and urban and regional planning from Princeton University. Elizabeth serves on the Board of Directors of The Workplace DC and of the Goodwill Excel Center and is an Organizer for DC Tech Meetup, home to more than 18,000 in the DC tech community. Elizabeth is dedicated to helping people feel empowered by technology and to opening doors to living-wage careers for thousands of people.

Delano Squires
Delano Squires is the Director of Connect.DC, the DC Office of the Chief Technology Officer’s (OCTO) digital inclusion program. Connect.DC works to “bridge the digital divide” in the District by making technology more accessible to low-income and underserved DC residents and community institutions. Delano earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Public Policy degree from George Washington University.

Alex Glazebrook
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)
Director of Training and Technology
As Director of Technology & Training, Alex Glazebrook is responsible for ensuring an outstanding experience for the older adults who participate in the many training and support programs that OATS offers. Alex hires, assigns, and manages the team of OATS trainers who collectively deliver thousands of hours of live instruction to groups of seniors each year at dozens of program sites. In addition, Alex leads the organization’s efforts to identify and assess existing and emerging technology in order to determine its suitability for inclusion in OATS programming, and is charged with developing new technology-based channels through which OATS can deliver its services. Alex earned a BA and an MSW from Stony Brook University, specializing in healthcare and aging. He is now pursuing his PhD in social welfare policy from Stony Brook, with a focus on aging; investigating the many ways in which technology influences health outcomes for older adults. Prior to joining OATS, Alex had a brief stint in the financial services industry before finding his true calling aiding the underserved. When not at OATS, you can find Alex competing in marathons, caring for his temperamental English Bulldog, or contending with the rigors of academia.

Kushaan Shah
Social Rise
Kushaan is a Product Consultant and Founder of Social Rise, a non-profit organization focused on closing the digital divide and empowering marginalized communities to learn social media through workshops and advocacy, as well as a digital marketing advisor for early stage startups and individuals. He is a StartingBloc Fellow, has served as a Startup Weekend Mentor and has spoken at TedxUMD, the AISEC Youth to Business Forum and the University of Maryland Social Enterprise Symposium. Kushaan’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, IBM’s Social Business Insights, and blogs from various non-profits. A published blogger, he is currently building a new series for the Huffington Post around digital equity. He enjoys rooting for his hometown Boston sports teams, well-made burritos, and can be reached on Twitter @kushaanshah.