accessibility Broadband Digital Literacy

CONNECTING CUYAHOGA: INVESTMENT IN DIGITAL INCLUSION BRINGS BIG RETURNS FOR RESIDENTS AND ADMINISTRATION

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This report will outline how investment in efforts to increase digital inclusion wouldimprove Cuyahoga County service delivery in many ways. Especially notable is by improving opportunities for and the quality of online transactions. And by interweaving digital literacy training and support into existing departmental programming, the county can extend theeffectiveness of existing initiatives while also catalyzing the creation of new offerings.

By assessing the digital skill level and connectivity status of clients during off-line (in-person orphone) interactions, case managers can direct their clients to opportunities to address digital gaps. By maintaining data on resident connectivity and communication preferences, serviceproviders can communicate in the most effective, efficient, and preferred methods for clients.The addition of digital inclusion programming and support to existing departmental community services will not only lower service delivery costs but can increase resident engagement and improve program outcomes. Increasing digital readiness will also prepare clients and service providers for emerging opportunities in social service delivery such as telehealth, remote monitoring and reporting.

Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio have made significant recent investments in onlineplatforms to better facilitate social service delivery. This choice to increase support for online transactions should deliver substantial returns, considering that digital transactions have been found to cost between 1–23% of the cost of in-person, phone, and mail transactions. However,these returns will not be realized if the current nonconnection rates among benefitsrecipients go unmitigated.

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