RD160el: Community Connections: Navigating the Rural Digital Divide

CEUs: 0
Clock Hours: 3Hr
4 learners enrolled

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The Digital Age has created a vastly inter-connected world, but many communities and individual households still lack access to reliable broadband, or the devices needed to fully engage. The long-term effects from this lack of access are as broad as the communities themselves. During this self-guided online course, housing and community development professionals will learn more about the different groups and communities affected by the digital divide and the varied solutions to these problems. The course was designed to help practitioners who are serving rural communities, minority groups, elder households, lower-income families, and others who may be struggling to keep up in the wake of the digital divide. A particular focus will be paid to rural communities who are most likely to lack access.

Throughout the course, we explore the implications for those groups that are most impacted. In addition, we outline unique traits and challenges facing different communities and share trustworthy resources and potential solutions so practitioners are armed with facts and creative interventions. The course will feature case studies to illustrate challenges and success stories and will include details related to special COVID-19 funding and resources available through the COVID Relief Bill (2020) and the American Rescue Plan (2021). Additional tools include national initiatives, statewide and local resources, and specific solutions for rural, communities of color, and other communities affected.

Strategic planning is a critical component to solving the digital divide. By the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of broadband access issues nationwide, the economic gaps perpetuated by the digital divide, disparate impacts for rural communities, and racial disparities as they relate to device and broadband limitations. We will talk about the role of government, public and private partnerships, and how housing and community development organizations fit into it all, and will wrap up with solutions, best practices, and resources.