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City of Detroit announces first eight Certified Tech Hubs, new interactive map to help residents access digital literacy resources
- Eight Certified Tech Hubs now open to Detroit residents
- Office of Digital Equity and Inclusion continues to meet residents where they are
- Community organizations can apply today to become Certified Tech Hubs
Today, Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison joined Digital Equity & Inclusion Director Christine Burkette, City Council Members and community partners to announce the first eight City of Detroit “Certified Tech Hubs”. The announcement was held at the Dick & Sandy Bauch Campus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan (BGCSM) on Tireman Avenue, which is one of the first locations granted this certification.
When Burkette stepped into the role as Director of the City of Detroit’s Office of Digital Equity & Inclusion early in 2023, she took a deep dive into what resources were available for Detroit residents and found that when it came to residents accessing digital resources and tools at neighborhood locations across the city, not every location was able to meet our residents’ needs, and some listed online as community tech hubs were not even open to the public. There were more than 100 locations listed as tech hubs in Detroit at that time.
To ensure Detroit residents had equitable access to basic digital literacy resources and tools they need, Burkette and the Office of Digital Equity & Inclusion launched the City of Detroit Certified Tech Hub initiative. The goal of this initiative is to provide residents with one central location to search and find the closest Certified Tech Hub near them and learn which digital equity resources each tech hub provides.
“Equitable access to high-speed internet and digital literacy tools can mean the difference between success and failure for our residents, whether they’re working on schoolwork, finding a job, or navigating workforce training tools,” said Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison. “Ensuring our seniors have a place to go to learn how to use the tools they need to keep up in today’s world is also important to us. Director Burkette is doing a great job meeting Detroiters where they are.”
To be granted a City of Detroit Certified Tech Hub, locations must provide free Wi-Fi, have devices available for residents’ use, offer basic digital literacy training software and be considered a safe environment. Each Tech Hub is also assessed to determine whether it provides the following digital equity resources and tools, so residents know which hub will best fit their needs before they go:
- Device Loaner Program
- IT Workforce Training
- Wheelchair Accessibility
- Tech Support
- ESL Resources
As of February 6, 2024, we currently have eight Certified Tech Hubs in the City of Detroit. These partners applied to be Certified Tech Hubs and have met the abovementioned criteria. These locations and the tools and resources they offer can be found on a new interactive map on the City of Detroit’s Office of Digital Equity and Inclusion website at http://detroitmi.gov/digitalequity.
“Our goal is to register a minimum of 30 Certified Tech Hubs citywide to service the 220,000 residents currently at or below poverty here in the City of Detroit,” said Christine Burkette. “Closing the digital divide will require us to work in partnership with community stakeholders. We thank the partners like Comcast and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, who have already stepped forward to provide these important tools and resources to our residents and are excited for this program to expand into even more neighborhoods across the city.”
Comcast Lift Zones across the city make up three of the first eight Certified Tech Hubs. “Comcast is proud to partner with the City of Detroit, Human-I-T and our Lift Zone partners to provide Internet access and support for digital skills training across Detroit,” said Craig D’Agostini, Comcast vice president, government & regulatory affairs. “Comcast has been working to make digital equity a reality in Detroit for over a decade, and Lift Zones are a natural fit for the Certified Tech Hub initiative—spaces designed to combat digital inequities and connect Detroiters to the resources and skills they need to succeed in a digital world.”
“As an organization that services over 21,000 youth, families and entrepreneurs, it is important that we help them and other community members connect with the resources and training needed to make the most of their educational, professional and personal development,” said Shawn H. Wilson president and CEO of BGCSM. “As an early partner in bridging the digital divide since our first Lift Zones in 2020 here at our Clubs, we’re thrilled to be one of the first eight Certified Tech Hubs in Detroit.”
In addition to the Dick & Sandy Dauch Club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan located at 16500 Tireman Ave., the other locations granted this certification thus far are:
- Adams Butzel Recreation Center, 10500 Lyndon St.
- Comcast Lift Zone at SAY Detroit Play Center, 19320 Van Dyke Ave.
- Stoudamire Wellness Center at Eastside Community Network, 4401 Conner St.
- Comcast Lift Zone at the Detroit Housing Commission Envision Center, 1047 E. Canfield St.
- Roberto Clemente Recreation Center, 2631 Bagley St.
- Patton Recreation Center, 2301 Woodmere St.
- Detroit Association of Black Organizations, 12048 Grand River Ave.
Burkette encourages organizations across the city to apply today to become a Certified Tech Hub by filling out this form found on the City of Detroit’s Office of Digital Equity & Inclusion page at http://detroitmi.gov/digitalequity. Once the application is submitted, Christine and her team will reach out to confirm the requirements of the center are met before granting the certification and including the location on the interactive map.