Detroit Office of Digital Equity & Inclusion Director, Christine Burkette, named Digital Inclusion Trailblazer

  • Christine Burkette among 47 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer awardees nationwide
  • Burkette has created Detroit’s first ever interactive digital equity map
  • Programming she has created provides residents with access to high-speed internet and digital skills training


The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) today named City of Detroit Digital Equity and Inclusion Department Director Christine Burkette as a 2023 Digital Inclusion Trailblazer, recognizing her 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. Recognizing the ongoing needs of the community, Detroit didn’t stop digital inclusion efforts at the end of the quarantine.

In her first six months on the job, Burkette has made great progress in moving towards bridging the digital divide here in the City of Detroit.

“In the City of Detroit, we are constantly striving to achieve greatness and that includes our digital equity efforts,” said Digital Equity Director Christine Burkette. “The Office of Digital Equity and Inclusion works to identify discrepancies in the City and implement solutions that create an even playing field for all residents to have equal access to high speed internet and effective technology.”

Christine Burkette


Her first couple of weeks on the job, Burkette worked diligently to learn everything she could about the residents she was appointed to serve. Before using data dashboard or mapping technology, she used sticky notes on her wall, calculating the total number of residents by district (7 districts in the city), identifying each demographic group, and each individual neighborhood that make up a district.

Burkette then developed and launched a 3-to-5-year community engagement and outreach initiative using tablets at community events and kiosk at tech hubs to collect feedback from residents to ensure the city is providing real time digital equity services and solutions. The City of Detroit encourages transparency in all aspects of government, and to this end, Burkette launched the first interactive GIS map in March 2023, providing residents with direct access to information regarding how digital equity resources are and will be allocated by neighborhood and need.

In November, 2023, she launched the citywide “City of Detroit Certified Tech Hub”, providing residents with an online portal to locate the closest tech hub near them. Residents are now able to identify all the digital equity resources, hours of operation, and accessibility, at a single glance.

Most recently, Burkette launched a citywide basic digital literacy YouTube channel, where the City of Detroit shares free online basic digital literacy courses residents can use to improve their basic digital literacy skills-building, and other important training for seniors, youth and those looking to upskill and ready themselves for new jobs or careers with an IT nexus.

Among several other goals she’s set, Burkette looks forward to helping provide low-income residents with access to high-speed internet in the coming years through the city’s Citywide Fiber Plan, which is currently in development stages.

This year, Burkette 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. Trailblazers provide models for other local governments to aspire to as communities build digital inclusion ecosystems.

“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 the key role local governments have in building connected communities for all of their residents.”

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 materials with open-sourcing, NDIA provides community advocates and local governments ways to continue learning, connect with trailblazing peers, and plan their own digital inclusion solutions.


About National Digital Inclusion Alliance 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