Digital Inclusion, Social Justice & Racial Equity
Digital inequities pose a significant barrier to opportunity and success for millions of students, families, and adults across the country, and has a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Digital exclusion is not a stand-alone issue, but part and parcel of the many inequities that exist in our society today as a result of generations of systematic racism and social injustice.
Tech Goes Home is committed to advancing digital equity by providing digital inclusion programs that open up access to and empower participation in essential resources including education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and the census. By providing computers, internet connectivity, and training to use those tools, Tech Goes Home’s programs work to create a more equitable society where all members of our community have access to the digital world and the opportunities it provides.
Digital skills and access to internet-connected computers are essential for students to participate in distance learning and access critical support services. Yet, an estimated 16 million public school students across the U.S. lack access to either an internet connection or device for learning at home Students of color - Black and Native American students in particular - are overrepresented among those without access.
At a time when access to virtual learning is more important than ever, Tech Goes Home’s education programs provide students and their families with the essential digital resources and training that remove barriers to pursuing academic achievement.
Further, digital inclusion is closely linked with economic opportunity. Applying for, advancing in, and accessing higher-paying jobs increasingly requires a range of digital skill sets. In Massachusetts, nearly 80% of jobs require at least fundamental digital skills, and middle-skill jobs requiring digital skills are growing 2.5 times faster than those that don’t. Yet, nearly one third of workers across all industries lack digital skills, with workers of color “overrepresented among those with limited or no digital skills” (National Skills Coalition 2020).
Economic justice is racial justice, and Tech Goes Home’s programs provide adults with tools, access, and skills training that open up pathways for job opportunities that require digital skills.
Digital inclusion also means greater access to healthcare information, telemedicine, and vaccines, especially now that many medical appointments are occurring remotely. However, many individuals – including a disproportionate number of older adults – don’t have access to those resources due to a lack of internet connectivity, computer, and/or digital skills. Nationwide, 41% of people covered by Medicare cannot access telehealth from home.
The pandemic has again laid bare the social determinants of health that have led to increased rates of COVID-19 infection in communities of color across the Commonwealth, and Tech Goes Home is working to mitigate those determinants by increasing access to essential health resources.
With the 2020 census conducted largely online, digital access was critical to counting every member of our communities in order to secure equitable funding for schools, housing, and other vital community resources. Many of the populations that have been deemed “hard-to-count” by the U.S. Census Bureau are members of historically marginalized communities that disproportionately face digital exclusion, including immigrant families, residents of dense urban areas, individuals experiencing homelessness, and individuals with disabilities.
Voter registration, town hall participation, and other key civic engagement opportunities are also more accessible to those with digital access. Through Tech Goes Home’s digital inclusion programs, we are empowering communities with the digital tools and training to engage in their communities and make their voices heard.
Training, Tools, & Access
In partnership with our network of partner organizations across Eastern Massachusetts, Tech Goes Home empowers the community members we serve to use the internet as a tool for pursuing educational opportunities, finding jobs, accessing healthcare, fulfilling their essential needs from home, and making their voices heard. We welcome you to join us in achieving our goal of ensuring that everyone has the skills, tools, and access to take full advantage of the internet and the opportunities it offers.