By Yvette Scorse, Communications Director
Last week, the DC Council made their final vote on the FY 2021 budget, and we’re disappointed to say that they did not make essential changes to help close the digital gap. Councilmembers and Mayor Bowser have said many times that their budget “reflects District values.”
Well, our values (and we think yours too) include a larger commitment to the equal opportunity to be safe, to learn, and to work. This budget shows an ignorance of growing digital inequities and how deeply they will affect our workforce, our community, and the perpetuation of systemic racism.
With their final vote to approve the budget on July 23, the DC Council:
- Did not fund any digital literacy programs for adults
- Did not modify the budgets of the DC Public Library, Department of Employment Services, or the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, leaving essential digital literacy training for residents and the workforce unfunded
- Cut the only comprehensive digital inclusion program in DC – Connect.DC, in the Office of the Chief Technology Officer
- Overlooked the need for fundamental digital skills training, essential to careers during the COVID-19 pandemic and to safe, living-wage jobs of the future
What We Achieved during This Budget Cycle
You helped us raise awareness of the need for digital equity with:
- 600+ petition signatures sent to the Mayor and Council
- 17 organizations supporting a sign-on letter
- 3 press articles covering this issue and our campaign
- Alumni testimony to 3 government agency budget hearings
- Incredible social media support
The Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, led by Councilmember Elissa Silverman added:
- $300,000 for IT training in the DC Infrastructure Academy
- $100,000 to the Workforce Investment Council’s Career Pathways Innovation Fund
- We’ll continue to fight back for and with Black and Brown DC residents who are disproportionately impacted by the District’s lack of action for digital equity.
- We’ll continue to raise awareness of the need for digital equity – in our community and with government and elected officials.
- We’ll continue to offer our expertise and our program to make DC better, in partnership with coalitions, funders, nonprofits, and DC Government agencies.
We look forward to counting on you to support digital equity in the future and thank you so much for your efforts this time around!