Digital literacy and access to the internet are considered a “super social determinant of health." They are the backbone for all other social determinants of health (economic sustainability, health care system, community and social context, food, education, neighborhood and physical environment).
To ensure the health of its communities and economy, Colorado has taken strategic steps towards digital equity. Namely, the Broadband Advisory Board created the Subcommittee on Digital Literacy and Inclusion (SDLI) was created to discuss, research, analyze, and draw conclusions concerning digital literacy and inclusion. The SDLI is led by the Office of the Future of Work (OFOW) in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Digital Equity is a state in which all individuals and communities have the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy. The three key components of digital equity include:
- Access to affordable, high-speed internet
- Access to affordable, web-enabled technology
- Access to relevant and high quality, effective training and support for digital skill development and use
Digital Inclusion refers to activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to information and communication technologies, and the literacy and resilience to use them. Digital inclusion ultimately leads to digital equity.
Digital Resilience refers to the awareness, skills, agility, and confidence to be empowered users of new technologies and adapt to changing digital skill demands.
Digital Literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.
The state of digital equity in Colorado
For more data about digital equity in Colorado and for information about the Digital Literacy and Inclusion Initiative, visit the Office of the Future of Work's website.
Office of the Future of Work Digital Literacy and Inclusion Initiative
60,108 households in Colorado with children in the K-12 system have inconsistent access to computers for educational purposes. (U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey: March 17 - 29, 2021)
64,878 households have inconsistent access to the internet for educational purposes. (U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey: March 17 - 29, 2021)
13 percent of the U.S. workforce has no digital skills (workers who failed to meet one or more of 3 baseline criteria to even take the full digital skills assessment: prior computer use, willingness to take the computer-based assessment, or ability to complete 4 out of 6 very basic computer tasks, such as using a mouse or highlighting text on screen) (National Skills Coalition)
18 percent of the workforce has very limited skills (Workers who can complete only very simple digital tasks with a generic interface and just a few simple steps; for example, these workers might struggle to sort emails that respond to an event invitation into different folders.) (National Skills Coalition)
35 percent of the American workforce has achieved a baseline level of proficient skills. (National Skills Coalition)
Internet and Device Usage
72.9 percent of the population over the age of three are using smartphones and 53.6 percent using laptops (NTIA Digital Nation Data Explorer November 2019)
19.9 percent of households have no home internet use and 44 percent of those households indicate the main reason they do not use the internet at home is that they do not need it or are not interested (NTIA Digital Nation Data Explorer November 2019)
22.2 percent of Coloradans over the age of 15 that are using the internet are using it to take a class or participate in job training online. (NTIA Digital Nation Data Explorer November 2019)