Detroit Regional Chamber > Education & Talent > Detroit Launches Tech Hubs to Give Residents Access to Internet, Digital Literacy

Detroit Launches Tech Hubs to Give Residents Access to Internet, Digital Literacy

February 14, 2024

Detroit Free Press
Feb. 13, 2024
Dana Afana

Detroit launched eight new technology hubs to provide residents access to internet and digital literacy training across various neighborhoods.

Tech hubs must provide free Wi-Fi, offer basic digital literacy training software and have devices available for residents to use, such as laptops. Detroit’s digital divide has been on the city’s priority list to bridge the gap between residents with access to internet and hardware and those without.

“We have 220,000 residents that are at or below poverty. It is so important. If we don’t provide them with the basic digital literacy skill training that they need, they’ll never skill up for those opportunities for job placement and, in turn, we want to make sure we are offering IT workforce development and training in each of these tech hubs,” Christine Burkette, digital equity and inclusion director, said Monday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan Dick and Sandy Dauch Campus, which is one of eight hubs.

The city has six more tech hubs pending approval. Burkette’s goal is to have five hubs in every council district. Hubs will have signs posted indicating they’re certified by the city of Detroit. Hubs are assessed to determine whether they provide a device loaner program, IT workforce training, wheelchair accessibility, tech support and English language resources. Organizations can register online to operate a certified tech hub at

“We all have heard about to get to digital divide, and with the pandemic, we realized more and more that we must have equitable, fast high-speed internet. More importantly, the devices also have to be available,” Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison said.

Comcast’s Lift Zones make up three of the first eight hubs. The city spent about $535,000 in American Rescue Plan Act money for upgrades to its recreation centers, which serve as hubs.

The eight hubs, located in an online interactive map, include:

  • Dick and Sandy Club of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan, 16500 Tireman Ave.
  • Adams Butzel Recreation Center, 10500 Lyndon St.
  • Comcast Lift Zone at SAY Detroit Play Center, 19320 Van Dyke Ave.
  • Stoudamire Wellness Center at Eastside Community Network, 4401 Conner St.
  • Comcast Lift Zone at Detroit Housing Commission Envision Center, 1047 E. Canfield St.
  • Roberto Clemente Recreation Center, 2631 Bagley St.
  • Patton Recreation Center, 2301 Woodmere St.
  • Detroit Association of Black Organizations, 12048 Grand River Ave.

Councilmembers Coleman Young II and Fred Durhal III praised Burkette and others for pushing the initiative.

“Because of the dedication and hard work of what the people in this room have accomplished, we can say we are working toward a more equitable and inclusive city,” Young said. “We’re closing the racial divide, we’re closing the digital divide. More importantly were closing the humanity divide for Detroiters … never again will Detroiters be left out of power for tomorrow.”

Durhal added that conversations about launching tech hubs have gone on for at least a year and thought about how residents who are not connected to the web are missing their current events in the news or local government meetings.

“I think we often take for granted our internet or us being connected. I was thinking back at the internet in times of AOL or when we had dial-up, you hear that crazy sound,” Durhal said. “Being a tech hub now right in this neighborhood is indicative of a great partnership.”