Digital connectivity is no longer a luxury; it is critical infrastructure to which all Americans need access. But the digital divide—the gap between those who have accessible, reliable broadband internet and those who don’t—currently leaves more than 21 million Americans offline and left behind.
In an era when broadband is a prerequisite to accessing higher education and many of the fastest-growing job fields, the digital divide is limiting the development of our workforce and amplifying inequity.
In response to COVID-19, WGU has made $1 million in Online Access Scholarships available to ensure that students have broadband internet and device access during their course of study. But the digital divide is bigger than any one institution; it demands collective action.
Every tech leader, innovator, academic institution, and policymaker must work together to take immediate action and expand internet access to every American.
Closing the digital divide will improve employment and workforce competitiveness and unleash human potential. But the most compelling reason is one of fairness. Particularly at a time when COVID-19 has accelerated both economic dislocation and technological change, we must build the critical infrastructure to connect every American to the digital opportunities of the 21st century.