Thanks to the state's first digital navigator initiative, three state organizations will receive a total of $4 million to help the people of North Carolina connect to high-speed internet, learn how to use digital devices, develop digital skills and enroll in the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity awarded the first digital navigator grants of $1.3 million on May 31 to three major anchor institutions that serve every county.
The State Library of North Carolina will provide digital navigation services at libraries by hiring regional digital inclusion facilitators and a digital inclusion coordinator to assist participating public and tribal libraries statewide.
The N.C. Community College System will deploy trained digital navigators at 20 community colleges serving Tier 1 and 2 counties, create a Spanish and English version of a Digital Navigator Certificate, and recruit adults from communities most impacted by the digital divide to serve as digital navigators.
The N.C. Cooperative Extension will hire digital literacy and skills extension agents in participating counties and train existing extension agents to host digital literacy and skills educational opportunities in their communities.
"Digital navigators play a pivotal role in helping communities across the state connect to the internet and engage in the modern economy," said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. "By partnering with these anchor institutions, we are creating meaningful digital literacy resources to help more North Carolinians on a one-to-one basis."