Durham Tech receives $400,000 grant to help close the digital divide

Durham Tech has been awarded a $400,000 Digital Champion grant to help North Carolinians access and use high-speed Internet, according to a news release Tuesday from the N.C. Department of Information Technology's Office of Digital Equity and Literacy. 

The College will use the funds to provide technology resources for its students through initiatives like a loaner laptop program and a "keeper" program, which provides students with their own Chromebooks after meeting attendance and progression goals. The project aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure equal opportunities for all students to access essential technology for academic success.

The College was among 63 organizations across the state to receive the grants, which total $30 million.

The grant program, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, will expand digital equity programming and advance digital inclusion and opportunity across North Carolina. 

"All North Carolinians need the resources and skills to safely and effectively use high-speed internet and benefit from the opportunities it offers,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Digital Champion grants will help more families take part in our increasingly digital world to work, learn, access vital telehealth services and connect with others online.” 

Durham Tech was honored to be among the organizations awarded a Digital Champion grant, College President J.B. Buxton said.

"This grant will allow us to better serve our students and ultimately our community," he said.

NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver said the grants will help create a more level playing field. 

“With firsthand knowledge of their communities’ needs, these grantees will help us build digital equity so everyone in the state can take part in the modern digital economy.” 

Program grantees will partner with the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy to help people from target populations identified in the Digital Equity Act, including low-income households; rural residents; aging residents; incarcerated or justice involved people; veterans; individuals with disabilities; individuals with a language barrier; and individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group. 

All projects will develop or expand digital equity programming and address at least one of the following elements of digital inclusion: 
• Affordability of reliable high-speed internet 
• Provision of internet-enabled devices (computer, laptops, etc.) that meet users' needs 
• Access to digital literacy and skills training
• Quality technical support 
• Applications and online content designed to increase accessibility and inclusivity

A list of all awardees with project descriptions is available at ncbroadband.gov/digital-champion-grantees.