The city of Cambridge, Mass., is partnering with local community groups to launch the Digital Navigator Pilot Program (DNP), which is designed to train and deploy digital navigators to support residents’ digital needs.

“The Digital Navigator Pilot Program represents a significant step forward in bridging the digital divide and ensuring that all residents have equitable access in an increasingly online world,” said Cambridge City Manager Yi-An Huang. “We are grateful to work with our local and regional partners, who share aligned missions and goals to best support our residents.”

The program is a collaboration between the City of Cambridge Information Technology Department, Cambridge Public Library, Cambridge Public School Department, Just A Start, and Cambridge Community Television (CCTV). The program is funded by the Mass Broadband Institute and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in partnership with the MassHire Metro North Workforce Investment Board.

The city said in a press release that key program activities will include hiring and training digital navigators to be placed in the Cambridge Public Library and Cambridge Public Schools, working in partnership with navigators at CCTV and Just A Start.

During the pilot program, the navigators will connect residents with a wide array of social services.

According to the city, a primary focus will be providing a menu of supports and services to low-income residents, including identifying and assessing individuals’ digital needs, assisting residents in signing up with low-cost internet providers, troubleshooting connectivity issues, and connecting residents to free or low-cost computers, hot spots, or related equipment. The navigators will also assist residents in setting up computers, tablets, or other devices for home use, while tracking individual residents’ progress and types of requests, and maintaining accurate and timely records.

The city noted that CCTV will employ a coordinator as part of the pilot program who will serve residents and coordinate the digital navigators across partners to build community, skills, and consistency in support for residents. Additionally, regular meetings will be coordinated for digital navigators across the city to share best practices, discuss challenging cases, exchange community resources, and measure impact from data collection.

Read More About
Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs