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City of Seattle Named One of Nation’s Digital Inclusion Trailblazers

Seattle recognized as a “Visionary” in the Trailblazer program

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) named Seattle a 2023 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer, recognizing the City’s efforts to close the digital divide. 

As the pandemic demonstrated, digital inclusion – access to affordable high-speed internet, devices, and digital skills training – is essential to participating and thriving in today’s world. The City of Seattle has led this work for the past 20-plus years with our Technology Matching Fund grants, Digital Navigator Cohort, and other local programs and partnerships.

“The work to close the digital divide never ends. As technology evolves, so does our team when it comes to how we approach this work,” said City of Seattle’s Interim Chief Technology Officer Jim Loter. “Each year, we work with our community partners to find innovative programs and partnerships to deliver technology and education for those who need it. I’m proud of our City’s work and honored with this recognition.”

This year, Seattle joins a record number of Digital Inclusion Trailblazers, with 47 total awardees representing municipal, county, and regional governments paving the way for digitally inclusive communities across the US. Seattle received a “Visionary” status recognition with 23 total points, the highest a municipality can achieve.

“The Digital Equity Team within the City of Seattle is focused on serving the community and passionate about our work,” said Jon Morrison Winters, Seattle’s Digital Equity Program and Broadband Manager. “We take this passion for digital equity into our neighborhoods by connecting people and programs with the technology and funding they need to do the work from the ground up. I’m excited to see what the next year will bring for our team and Seattle.”

Trailblazers provide models for other local governments to aspire to as communities build digital inclusion ecosystems. Seattle achieved Trailblazer status by prioritizing digital inclusion for residents of their communities through several programs and initiatives this past year, including:

  • Community outreach to promote the Affordable Connectivity Program
  • Ongoing Technology Matching Fund Grant and Digital Navigator Program
  • Workforce Development Grant allowed Seattle to provide further outreach and foster relationships with community groups and their education services to clients within their communities.
  • Support and collaborate with the Digital Equity Learning Network (DELN) of King County to provide a forum for digital equity provider education, resource sharing, and advocacy for community needs.
  • Collect and disseminate data about digital equity levels, barriers, and impacts through our Technology Access and Adoption community survey study and Internet for All dashboards.
  • The ongoing critical support of coordination of wireless companies and City departments.
  • Engaging at the local, state, and national levels to share digital equity best practices and policy advocacy. This included developing a countywide broadband and digital equity report and contributing to a new State Digital Equity Plan.
  • Advocating for digital equity through larger programs such as the Conference of Mayor’s Technology Committee, overseen by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell

“Nonprofits, libraries, churches, and other community organizations can’t reach digital equity on their own. For everyone to thrive in today’s digital world, we need all hands on deck,” said Angela Siefer, NDIA executive director. “NDIA’s Digital Inclusion Trailblazers exemplify local governments’ key role in building connected communities for all of their residents.”

The Digital Equity program is part of the Seattle Information Technology Department (Seattle IT) Digital Equity Program. Seattle IT is a trusted partner that provides secure, reliable, and compliant technologies, enabling the City to deliver equitable and responsive services to the public.

NDIA revised the seven-year-old Trailblazer program this year, identifying seven categories of current best practices. Each applicant’s materials are verified for accuracy, assessed for community impact, and posted in an interactive map and searchable database on NDIA’s website. By sharing Seattle and other Trailblazer community’s materials, NDIA provides community advocates and local governments ways to continue learning, connect with trailblazing peers, and plan their own digital inclusion solutions.

NDIA advances digital equity by supporting community programs and equipping policymakers to act. Working collaboratively with more than 1,500 digital inclusion practitioners, NDIA advocates for equitable broadband access, tech devices, digital skills training, and tech support. For more information, visit