August 23, 2022
Salt Lake City has been named a 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. It marks the second time the City made the list for its leadership in digital equity, a major priority of Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and one that took on enhanced importance during the pandemic.
“We are committed to equity and inclusion on all fronts, but it’s especially important right now to close the digital divide,” said Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “We were thankfully ready to act on opportunities provided by the Biden-Harris Administration and took aggressive steps to increase digital access for all Salt Lakers.”
Trailblazers are judged on six criteria showing a city or county’s digital inclusion leadership. These include having full-time local government staff, a digital inclusion plan, an open-access coalition, funded digital inclusion programming, survey research, and efforts to increase affordability of home broadband service.
“Digital equity and inclusion are central to community resilience. By investing in these types of programs and policies, residents can transition to the modern economy, stay connected to loved ones and access needed services,” said Nole Walkingshaw, Chief Innovation Officer for Salt Lake City.
Digital inclusion and digital equity are priorities for Salt Lake City. In recent years, the City has:
- Developed City Connect, an initiative that activates public WIFI hotspots in community centers and parks throughout the City.
- Developed a laptop donation program to send surplus City computers to residents being served by the City’s youth and family programs.
- Opened a new youth and family computer lab in the City’s westside Fairpark neighborhood, open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.
As the Infrastructure Act continues to roll out, city and county digital inclusion plans and work will continue to become more necessary and influential. As states create plans under the Digital Equity Act, they will be required to consult and include existing city plans within their state.
Tags: City Connect, Digital Equity Act, Digital Inclusion Trailblazer, Mayor Erin Mendenhall, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall
About National Digital Inclusion Alliance: NDIA advances digital equity by supporting community programs and equipping policymakers to act. Working collaboratively with more than 800 digital inclusion practitioners, NDIA advocates for broadband access, tech devices, digital skills training, and tech support. For more information on Digital Inclusion Trailblazers, visit digitalinclusion.org/digital-inclusion-trailblazers.