CDW is committed to supporting diverse businesses.
Ours is a commitment that reaches well beyond our coworkers, the customers we serve and the communities we live in. Partnering strategically with diverse and small businesses enables us to keep providing the industry’s best experience, while contributing to economic growth in diverse communities nationwide.
Learn more about our commitment to diversity at CDW.com/SupplierDiversity
WRITING THE DIGITAL EQUITY PLAYBOOK
Over the past few years, companies and individuals have thrown around the words inclusion, equity and equality, but it was important to me personally – and as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and member of the esteemed Billion Dollar Roundtable – to really be clear on what we mean when we say these words and then how we map our actions against them.
What does inclusion mean? What does equity mean? What does equality mean? It means, what your organization look like, what your customers look like and what your partners look like.
Inclusion is making the mix work. We can talk about business results and the outputs but if you get all the way back to the core, inclusion is making the mix work. You're getting the best of everybody – all their experiences, all their backgrounds.
Equality is a promise or a value that everybody will be treated fairly and then equity is the scorecard. Did we achieve it? Something that’s been very important was to understand where technology could really drive diversity inclusion in the world.
We've started to focus our efforts on the digital divide, and technology enabling opportunity. The ecosystems working together nowadays are much more important and bringing together our power in combination with our partners we can help to drive access and equality.
Through our acquisition of Amplified IT,a leading provider of Google services, solutions, and software for education customers we impacted 1 in 2 school students this past year. With Amplified IT alongside our education team, we have more robust Google Cloud capabilities to help our customers maximize their return on education technology investments, ultimately creating more engaging learning experiences for students.
In today's society, digital equity is more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for people to have reliable internet access to work, learn, and access essential services. Those who lack access to the internet or digital devices are at a disadvantage, as they may not be able to participate fully in these activities.
Digital equity also plays a critical role in social and economic mobility. The internet provides access to a wealth of information and resources that can help people improve their education and job skills, find job opportunities, and start businesses. Without access to these resources, people may be left behind in the job market and struggle to improve their economic situation.
Additionally, digital equity is important for civic engagement. The internet provides a platform for people to connect with each other, share ideas, and advocate for their communities. Without access to the internet or digital literacy skills, people may not be able to participate fully in the democratic process.
To address digital equity, we need to take a comprehensive approach that includes infrastructure investment, digital literacy training, and support for affordable devices. Governments and private organizations can work together to ensure that everyone has access to reliable internet and the tools necessary to participate in the digital world.
Digital equity is essential for social and economic mobility, civic engagement, and overall well-being. By ensuring that everyone has access to the tools and resources necessary to participate fully in the digital world, we can create a more equitable and just society.
Christine A. Leahy
President and Chief Executive Officer
HOW DO WE CONTINUE
TO ADVANCE DIGITAL EQUITY
A digital inclusion ecosystem is a combination of programs and policies that meet a geographic community’s unique and diverse needs.
Coordinating entities work together in an ecosystem to address all aspects of the digital divide, including affordable broadband, devices and skills. But what is the work that comes next for digital inclusion is strengthening these ecosystems? What’s next for ensuring digital equity is an ongoing process that requires a comprehensive approach that takes into account various factors?
Companies can work with diverse and small businesses as strategic partners, rather than simply as suppliers.
CDW Business Diversity
Senior Manager, CDW Business Diversity
Source: 2023 Supplier Diversity Impact Analysis, Presentation of findings, Ecotone March 2023
We believe there are 6 key strategies to advance the work being done around digital equity:
To ensure digital equity, it is essential to provide access to technology and the internet. This could involve providing low-cost or free internet access, distributing devices such as laptops and tablets to individuals who cannot afford them, or setting up computer labs in areas where access to technology is limited.
Along with access to technology and the internet, digital literacy is crucial to ensure digital equity. Digital literacy refers to the ability to use digital tools and technology effectively. Educating individuals on how to use technology and the internet safely and effectively can help bridge the digital divide.
Collaboration among various stakeholders such as governments, non-profit organizations, and private entities can help ensure digital equity. This could involve partnerships to provide low-cost internet access, donate devices, or provide training on digital skills.
Adequate funding is necessary to ensure digital equity. Governments, private entities, and non-profit organizations can provide funding to support initiatives that aim to bridge the digital divide.
Digital equity initiatives must be tailored to the unique needs of different communities. It is essential to take into account factors such as income levels, language barriers, and cultural differences to ensure that digital equity initiatives are accessible and effective.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and evaluating digital equity initiatives can help ensure that they are effective and make necessary adjustments to improve outcomes. This could involve gathering data on access to technology, digital literacy levels, and the impact of digital equity initiatives on communities.