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College of The Albemarle Awarded $700,000 Digital Champion Grant to Enhance Digital Inclusion

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Elizabeth City, NC – College of The Albemarle (COA) is proud to announce that it has been awarded a $700,000 Digital Champion grant as part of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy initiative. This grant, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, will provide much-needed digital support to underserved communities with high-speed internet access, digital devices, and digital literacy resources.

Dr. Jack Bagwell, President of College of The Albemarle, shared, “This funding will not only significantly enhance our efforts to support digital inclusion within our community, but it also holds the potential to transform lives. By providing essential digital resources and training, we can empower more individuals to participate fully in the digital age, improving their educational and economic opportunities.”

“College of The Albemarle serves seven rural counties in North Carolina and is focused on enhancing digital accessibility, literacy, and skills among students, including underrepresented groups and incarcerated individuals at Pasquotank Correctional Institution,” said Dr. Kimberly Gregory, COA Director of Career and College Readiness. “This initiative aims to prepare a future-ready workforce, decrease the digital divide, and ensure equitable digital access and opportunities for the community. We are extremely grateful for this grant award and look forward to seeing the positive impact across our region.”

COA will leverage the $700,000 grant to improve digital access, expand device availability, and enhance digital skills training. The comprehensive approach will utilize new and existing resources and partnerships to achieve the following goals:

  1. Increase Accessibility and Usability of Online Digital Content
    • Personalize and make digital content accessible, interactive, and bilingual.
    • Support major international languages to bridge the digital divide.
  2. Device Expansion and Replenishment
    • Expand the device loaner program across all campuses.
    • Replace outdated devices, including at Pasquotank Correctional Institution.
    • Purchase jetpack hotspots for the campus device lending program.
  3. Digital Literacy and Skills Training
    • Offer at least three digital literacy skills classes per year.
    • Provide no-cost digital skills classes with 125 devices available for training.

In a press release recently issued by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), Governor Roy Cooper stated, “All North Carolinians need the resources and skills to safely and effectively use high-speed internet and benefit from the opportunities it offers. Digital Champion grants will help more families take part in our increasingly digital world to work, learn, access vital telehealth services, and connect with others online.”

College of The Albemarle is among 63 organizations across North Carolina to receive this grant. This initiative will specifically target low-income households, rural residents, aging individuals, justice-involved individuals, veterans, people with disabilities, those with language barriers, and members of racial or ethnic minority groups.

Jim Weaver, NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer, also noted the impact of these grants in the NCDIT press release, “With firsthand knowledge of their communities’ needs, these grantees will help us build digital equity so everyone in the state can take part in the modern digital economy.”

In addition to the Digital Champion grant, COA is actively participating in the Digital Navigator Project, a federally funded initiative aimed at promoting digital equity and inclusion. Through this project, COA is training personnel as digital navigators to assist students in securing resources and referrals for internet connection, devices, and digital skills training. This effort further highlights COA’s commitment to bridging the digital divide and ensuring all community members have the tools and skills necessary for success in today’s digital world.

For more information on the Digital Champion grants and to see a full list of awardees, please visit

For information or media inquiries, contact Tammy W. Sawyer, COA Director of Communications and Marketing, at 252-335-0821 ext. 2420 or [email protected].