United Way Releases Southwest Ohio's First Digital Opportunity Plan

Stakeholders share a common goal: build digital inclusion and equity in our communities.
April 25, 2024
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Contact: media@uwgc.org

CINCINNATI (April 25, 2024) – The Southwest Ohio Regional Digital Inclusion Alliance, convened by United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC), published the area’s first Digital Opportunity Plan. The plan—the result of a year of collaboration with local governments, community-based organizations, residents and other stakeholders—identifies opportunities to close the digital divide.

“People who don’t have affordable broadband and digital skills face barriers to participation in today’s economy,” said Moira Weir, UWGC President and CEO. “Together with our partners, we are committed to improving digital connectivity; it’s important for both the economic well-being of families and the long-term success of employers.”

BroadbandOhio established five Regional Digital Inclusion Alliances (RDIAs) in February 2023 to champion digital equity and inclusion. Each RDIA is led by a backbone organization that centers its work around the needs of populations that experience the greatest barriers to digital inclusion. UWGC is the backbone organization for Southwest Ohio.

“Too many people still lack the basic connectivity needed to accomplish the everyday tasks many of us take for granted – things like working from home, getting an online education, or even seeing a doctor,” said Director Lydia Mihalik of the Ohio Department of Development, which oversees BroadbandOhio. “We’re closing the digital divide by partnering at the local level to provide not only affordable high-speed internet, but online skills training for anyone who needs it.”

UWGC started by partnering with the University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center to gather input, build momentum and identify digital inclusion stakeholders from 16 counties in Southwest Ohio. Stakeholders identified the following key barriers to digital inclusion:

  • Accessibility to high-speed, reliable internet.
  • Affordability of broadband internet service.
  • Lack of finances to purchase devices.
  • Lack of digital skills.
  • Concerns about privacy and security.

The Digital Opportunity Plan outlines a three-tiered approach for overcoming each barrier, including existing solutions, quick wins and long-term strategies.

Explore the plan on uwgc.org to learn more about closing the digital divide in Southwest Ohio.

About United Way

United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC) fights for the economic well-being of all people in Greater Cincinnati so our entire community can thrive – now and in the future. Founded in 1915, UWGC is one of the region’s largest nonprofit organizations. It is committed to working alongside policymakers, community partners and donors to promote educational success, financial empowerment and housing security. Learn more about UWGC’s work across nine counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at UWGC.org. #UnitedWeThrive

Explore the Digital Opportunity Plan

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