Yesterday kicked off Digital Inclusion Week, a national initiative to spread awareness about digital inclusion efforts across the country, as well as highlight the progress we’ve made in bridging the digital divide. Alongside our partners, the Rocket Community Fund has been driving digital inclusion efforts for the past three years in Detroit.
It began with the “Changing the Course” initiative launched during the 2020 Rocket Mortgage Classic, which served as the foundation for Connect 313, Detroit’s citywide digital inclusion strategy. Since then we have helped raise millions of dollars in funding for programs to equitably support digital inclusion efforts across Detroit and beyond, from Connected Futures to the EBB 313 program to streamline access to the federal program subsidizing the cost of internet. Most recently, we have celebrated the work of our partners in digital inclusion at Human I-T, who have just announced plans to open their first ever storefront – where residents will be able to access low-cost digital devices, internet, tech support and digital literacy training – right here in Detroit.
As a result of our combined efforts, over 67.5% of Detroiters are now digitally included. That number was at 40% in 2019, when Detroit was the least connected city in the United States. Thankfully, that is no longer the case.
The outcome of this work is the combined efforts of our partners who are equally committed to a shared vision of a more digitally equitable world. On the Rocket Community Fund side, Myka Burley is driving the bulk of this critical work forward. Since 2020, Myka has served as the Program Manager for Digital Inclusion on our Education and Employment team and holds a companion role as Community Manager for Connect 313. She has had an instrumental role in shaping our digital inclusion strategy, especially with regards to our partnership with Connect 313 and managing the multifaceted programming and planning for Digital Inclusion Week.
In this video, Myka talks about her dual roles, the importance of Digital Inclusion Week and why digital access is an essential component of a thriving community.