How does digital inclusion affect economic mobility?

Three Charlotte experts discussed the relationship between digital inclusion and economic mobility in an online community forum March 15 at the James L. Knight School of Communication, Queens University of Charlotte.

Charlotte city councilman James Mitchell (far right); Kevin Dick, economic development director for the City of Charlotte (second from left); and Patrick Graham, president and CEO of Charlotte Works (far left), examined the role of digital skills in Charlotte workforce development. Bruce Clark, project manager for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg digital inclusion steering team (second from right), moderated the panel.

Digital inclusion is important to the workforce system because it touches on 7 main areas: Preparation, Access to jobs, performance in jobs (having the skills to perform and ability to retain the job), innovation, growth in the job. Digital inclusion is very nice key component to our future talent and our ability to be globally competitive. — Dr. Patrick Graham

Knight School students helped produce and stream the event on Facebook Live, and questions were taken from the online audience.

An initiative of the Knight School of Communication, Digital Charlotte is focused on strengthening levels of digital inclusion in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, including literacy, connectivity, and device availability.

A few different key components are 1: There needs to be connectivity. Connection of the job seeker to the position. 2: There needs to be preparation. We need to make sure we that are hitching our wagons to growth industries (industries where there will be a lot of employment opportunities). Opportunities for people to earn competitive salaries with benefits so they can take care of their families and themselves. 3: Also, recruitment. There are a lot of individuals coming in to Charlotte each and every day. Daily roughly 44 individuals. Its a matter of making sure the talent matches the opportunity. This applies to Charlotte natives as well as inward migration. — Kevin Dick

Digital Charlotte broadcast the discussion using Facebook Live, a low-cost tool increasingly used by community and media organizations.

The simplest form of Facebook Live broadcasting relies on a single smartphone equipped with a camera. Another level uses multiple smartphones or tablet devices, with tablet-based software to switch among camera views. The experiment on March 15 used three Canon XF100 video cameras attached to a video switching device, the Black Magic ATEM Production Studio.

Digital Charlotte will share lessons learned and details of the process used for the project in April 2017.

From my standpoint my daughter attends a CMS school and some of her classmates don’t have access to the internet providers. I’m fussing at her for eating up all of the data and I had to catch myself because she said “Daddy at least I have access to this when some of my classmates do not.” As a city official who wants CLT to be a winning city I need to have a conversation with those providers to say “Here is what is needed to make a difference in our communities.” — James Mitchell 


Still photography by Joe Cornelius.