Team Pennsylvania takes a broad approach to digital equity, encompassing work on skills, devices, and connectivity. Through a grant from AT&T, Team Pennsylvania supports cross-sector, statewide work on this important economic driver.
Digital equity is the condition in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy, and economy. This means that all workers, learners, and communities have access to:
- Training needed to gain relevant skills (literacy and skills)
- Technology necessary to participate in our society and economy (high-speed internet, digital devices)
Digital equity is an important area of focus for Team Pennsylvania, as this topic cuts across many areas of the organization’s work. Promoting digital equity is of critical importance for Pennsylvania to advance the commonwealth’s economic competitiveness and residents’ economic prosperity.
Through its grant from AT&T Team Pennsylvania is supporting digital literacy badging through SmartFutures, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that provides electronic portfolios for K-12 students to track their career development activities. Through the SmartFutures portal, secondary students can complete Northstar Digital Literacy modules to earn badges and ultimately a completion certificate acknowledging acquisition of basic digital literacy skills. Since July 2019, students have earned more than 23,650 digital literacy credentials through SmartFutures and Northstar; on average, each student has completed two or more credential assessments.
Team Pennsylvania also supported a cross-agency planning process to advance statewide digital skill development, in partnership with the Governor’s Policy Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, and the Office of Commonwealth Libraries. The cross-agency team reviewed data to understand the current state of digital skills in the commonwealth and determine the unmet need, and developed a strategic plan for digital skills that aligns and coordinates initiatives at several state agencies. in order to identify occupations or populations of focus for targeted efforts to increase digital skills.
Team Pennsylvania will continue to support digital equity into 2023, with plans to release a policy brief and landscape scan of efforts to advance digital equity across the commonwealth.