Seattle Named a 2022 ‘Digital Inclusion Trailblazer’

Seattle Meets All Six Criteria to Be Named ‘Trailblazer’ for the Sixth Time

On Monday, August 22, Seattle was named a 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA). The city made the list for the sixth time due to its leadership in digital equity. Seattle is one of 32 government agencies to receive this honor.

Seattle met all six of the Digital Inclusion Trailblazer criteria. Cities have been vying for a place on the list since the honor launched in 2016. 

Digital Inclusion Trailblazer graphic

“Seattle’s long history of technology innovation isn’t just for the tech sector — it means progress and opportunity for all of Seattle residents,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “I’m proud that the City of Seattle has been a pioneer and leader in digital equity for decades with dedicated programs and grant opportunities. Closing the digital divide and making sure all communities have access to affordable broadband internet is key to our mission toward building a connected and thriving One Seattle.”

Trailblazers are judged based 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, survey research, funded digital inclusion programming, and efforts to increase the affordability of home broadband service. 

“Receiving this recognition year after year highlights the ongoing work the City of Seattle pours into digital equity. It’s not just about making sure households have access to Wi-Fi, but also the skills, tools, and knowledge to use it to better their lives,” said City Councilmember Sara Nelson (Citywide Position 9).

The City of Seattle works to ensure all residents and neighborhoods have access to the information technology capacity needed for education, employment, lifelong learning, and civic and cultural activities. One key aspect of the program’s success is working with community partners.

“We are excited that the City of Seattle was named a 2022 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer through NDIA, a well-deserved recognition,” said Literacy Source Co-Executive Director Shira Rosen. “Literacy Source is happy to partner with the City to support and collaborate on our Digital Equity Learning Network (DELN) digital equity coalition to strengthen community providers and their impact. At Literacy Source, we support adults who come from low socioeconomic status to gain the basic literacy skills they need to succeed in school, find a job, and achieve life goals. We are proud to work with the City of Seattle and others for digital inclusion, so Literacy Source students and the greater community have access to devices, the internet, and digital education.” 

“Community partnership is one of the reasons our program is so successful. The support and outreach of non-profits and neighborhood groups really help amplify the great work our teams are doing. It truly is a tremendous effort to make sure every student, parent, employee, and resident has the tools they need to be successful in our digital world. I’m extremely proud of our team and the hard work they’ve done in this critical area,” said Seattle’s Interim Chief Technology Officer Jim Loter.

The City of Seattle has four Digital Equity Elements that guide its work in this field: Internet, Skills and Technology Support, Devices and Applications and Services. The City also offers considerable resources for residents, groups, and non-profits looking to support the digital equity needs of their communities. Learn more about the work, including Internet for All Seattle, and Technology Access and Adoption Study by signing up for digital equity newsletters at seattle.gov/tech/initiatives/digital-equity.

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance works to advance 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.