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A Giant Step for Digital Equity

A Giant Step for Digital Equity

Today Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Angus King (I-ME), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Gary Peters (D-MI) have introduced the Digital Equity Act of 2019.

The NCL is proud to endorse this legislation, which was developed by Senator Murray’s office with input and support from the NCL and numerous other organizations working for equal access for all. It defines “digital equity” and “digital inclusion” for the first time in statute, with a focus on enabling full participation in society and the economy. It specifically references underserved and overlooked populations, particularly adults who seek to develop their literacy, numeracy, and digital skills but lack access for geographic, economic, and other reasons.

The Act establishes two grant programs to be administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to promote digital equity nationwide:

  • Building Capacity within States through Formula Grants: The legislation creates an annual $125 million formula grant program for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico to fund the creation and implementation of comprehensive digital equity plans in each State.
  • Spurring Targeted Action through Competitive Grants: The legislation also creates an annual $125 million competitive grant program to support digital equity projects undertaken by individual groups, coalitions, and/or communities of interest.

The Act also promotes research and evidence-based policymaking. It tasks NTIA with evaluating digital equity projects and providing policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels with detailed information about which projects are most effective.

The Digital Equity Act of 2019 has the potential to help millions of Americans gain the digital tools they need to thrive. Feel free to share this post with your networks. Graphics for Facebook, Instagram (including stories), and Twitter, along with GIFs and a short video, can be found here. Learn more from Senator Murray’s new Medium Post “Why We Need the Digital Equity Act” here.

Call your U.S. Senators today and tell them it’s time for #DigitalEquityNow! It’s time to close the digital divide and focus on making sure communities with broadband access have the skills and knowledge to take full advantage of all the internet has to offer.

International Literacy Day is September 8

International Literacy Day is September 8

The United Nations’ International Literacy Day is observed each year on September 8. The day recognizes the centrality of literacy to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; per the UN website, it “is an opportunity for Governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges.”

The theme for this year’s International Literacy Day is “Literacy and Skills Development.” For more information, visit the UN website at

Announcement: The 2018 Literacy Leadership Awards

Announcement: The 2018 Literacy Leadership Awards

It is our pleasure to announce the recipients of the NCL Literacy Leadership Awards for 2018. In addition to the Literacy Leadership Awards, this year the NCL Board will be making the inaugural Barbara Bush Lifetime Achievement in Adult Literacy Award. This new award is intended to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions as an advocate for adult literacy over a full professional career.
1. The inaugural Barbara Bush Lifetime Achievement in Adult Literacy Award: Gail Spangenberg

Gail Spangenberg has been a consistent and influential voice in support of educational opportunity for low-skilled adults for decades. Her focus has consistently been the expansion and improvement of policies and programs that allow these adults to develop the literacy and workplace skills necessary to support their families, promote their children’s education, and participate effectively in civic and community life.

2. Literacy Leadership Award: Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
The award recognizes the Senator for her longtime support of education at all levels, and particularly for her work on the recent reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. Her advocacy for the inclusion of tribes and tribal organizations opens the path to educational opportunity for youth and adults from these key populations of adult learners.
3. Literacy Leadership Award: National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy (Migration Policy Institute)
The award recognizes the Center, and its director, Margie McHugh, for its ongoing advocacy for education quality and access for adults who are immigrants and refugees.
4. Literacy Leadership Award: Student Ambassador Program
The award recognizes the program, developed by the staff at Pima Community College led by Regina Suitt, for its many years of success in both conducting advocacy for adult education and enabling adult learners to develop confidence in themselves and in their skills as advocates. That success, and the quality and value of the program, have led to its growth to national scale through the COABE Student Ambassador Training in the past year.
5. Literacy Leadership Award: Jeff Carter
The award recognizes Jeff’s long and effective career as an advocate for adult literacy and adult education, culminating in the presidency of the Committee for Education Funding.
The 2018 Literacy Leadership Awards will be presented to honorees at a formal event on Capitol Hill during Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. The event will take place on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 4:00-6:00 PM, in the Cannon House Office Building, Room 340. This event is free and open to the public; you are welcome to attend. Those who plan to attend should RSVP to
Please feel free to share this announcement with colleagues who may be interested.
Our congratulations to all of the 2018 honorees!
Nominations Open for 2018 Literacy Leadership Awards

Nominations Open for 2018 Literacy Leadership Awards

The National Coalition for Literacy is seeking nominations for its annual Literacy Leadership Awards. These awards recognize individuals and organizations whose contributions to the field of adult education and literacy are national in scope or have national significance.

Nominees may be public policy advocates or policy makers, elected officials (particularly Members of Congress), program administrators, instructors (paid or volunteer), financial supporters, business leaders, partners, or students. The NCL Board is particularly interested in receiving nominations in the category of Emerging Voice for Adult Literacy, added this year. Federal agencies and private sector programs are also eligible, as are state and local initiatives that have received notable national attention or been widely recognized as models for the field. For information on previous award recipients, visit

The NCL Board anticipates making approximately four Literacy Leadership awards for 2018. In addition, the Board has designated a special award category this year, the Barbara Bush Lifetime Achievement in Adult Literacy Award.

The NCL Board will accept nominations from individuals and organizations with an interest in the field of adult literacy. Each nominator may make no more than one nomination.

Nomination forms ((available here)) are due by August 20 to Michele Diecuch: Award winners will be notified by August 27, and the awards event will be held on Capitol Hill during the last week of September 2018 (Adult Education and Family Literacy Week). As needed and by request, assistance may be available to offset awardees’ cost of travel to Washington, DC.


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