Photo: Maribel Martinez

Digital Navigator Program Cohort 4 Launches Soon!

Posted on January 11, 2024 by Maribel Martinez, consultant with The Patterson Foundation
Through generous support from The Patterson Foundation, a fourth cohort of the Digital Navigator Program will soon launch, focusing on serving community members in DeSoto County! This new class will join over 30 Digital Navigators from the previous three cohorts who are based in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties and who collectively now form the Suncoast Digital Navigator Network.

So why will the next Digital Navigator Program cohort focus on DeSoto County? Of the 12,340 households in DeSoto County, approximately 24% reported not having an internet subscription, and about 19% reported accessing the internet from a cellular data plan only. According to the American Community Survey, nearly half of DeSoto County is without reliable home internet. Since internet subscriptions, large-screen computing devices, and digital literacy skills learning are correlated to income, the urgency to connect DeSoto’s community members affordably to computing devices they know how to use in relevant ways to them, is immediate. Digital Navigators are specifically trained to source these opportunities and more.

As with past cohorts, Digital Navigator candidates will engage in small-group training and implementation support, guidance on designing and hosting community internet enrollment events, collaborating with various organizations to increase outreach and awareness about the digital divide, and much more. Aside from directly becoming part of cohort four, there are different ways your organization can help this initiative.

If you are interested in helping the Digital Navigator Program find success in DeSoto County, please fill out this interest form or register for the January 24 information session at the DeSoto County Library at 125 N Hillsborough Avenue in Arcadia.

We look forward to connecting and collaborating with care so we can contribute to digital inclusion and create digital equity in DeSoto and beyond.

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