Over the past seven years, NDIA recognized 39 cities, towns, and counties as Digital Inclusion Trailblazers. This year, NDIA is proud to introduce updates to Trailblazers categories, indicators, and scoring that reflect current best practices and advancements in local government digital inclusion.
Incorporating the expertise of a working group of NDIA affiliates, we updated the Trailblazers categories and indicators and added some new ones this year. We included digital navigators, asset mapping, and coalition building as indicators to reflect emerging trends and to uplift the critical role these programs and strategies play in digital inclusion.
Digital Inclusion Trailblazers are municipal, county, or regional governments that are paving the way and providing excellent models for digitally inclusive communities. They are intentional. They are invested. They are committed to advancing digital equity.
Digital Inclusion Trailblazers take action in the following categories:
- Dedicate Resources
- Fund and Aid Digital Inclusion Programs
- Participate in Digital Inclusion Ecosystem
- Engage the Community
- Advance Digital Inclusion Through Policy
- Use Data to Inform Digital Inclusion
- Create a Local Digital Inclusion Plan
Outstanding Digital Inclusion Trailblazers, scoring 18 points or more, are communities that have deeply integrated digital inclusion throughout their government. They are leading the way in digital inclusion innovation.
- Digital Inclusion Trailblazer: 5-17 points
- Outstanding Digital Inclusion Trailblazer: 18 points and above
Any local government may apply annually during the application window to be a Digital Inclusion Trailblazer, including:
- Regional governments
Please Note: NDIA is currently working with Tribal partners to design a program to recognize Tribes that are leading outstanding digital inclusion efforts. Please stay tuned and join the NDIA community for regular updates. NDIA also offers the opportunity for individual leaders to be recognized through the annual Benton Digital Equity Champion awards.
The Trailblazers recognition isn’t just an award — it’s also a collection of valuable resources. The places selected as Trailblazers provide models to aspire to, demonstrating how local governments can support their own digital inclusion ecosystems.
Digital inclusion advocates should also use Trailblazers as an advocacy tool. If your local government(s) already has digital inclusion initiatives, apply them to apply by October 20. If they don’t, throughout the year, you can make use of the Trailblazers program and its valuable repository of resources (which will be publicly available after selection). Trailblazers can serve as a beacon to inform their own path to digital equity.
Submit your application by October 20, 2023 at 5 p.m. ET.
Thanks to the 2023 Digital Inclusion Trailblazers sponsor