Minority Serving Institutions Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Conference: 2009

I have had the privilege of attending and presenting the MSI Conference in Dallas, TX for the last two days. Minority Serving Institutions include Hispanic, African American and Tribal Colleges and today focuses on how they can participate in the BTOP program in future rounds. Due to the work we have been doing with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (LLBO) Jackie Vanasse of LLBO and myself were asked to present the process and project that LLBO submitted for Round 1 funding.
In addition we heard from many highly-educated PhD. level experts in the social sciences and project management and how it relates to these projects.
It is sad to see the poor service that these areas around the MSI’s have for broadband access and great to see the success that bringing broadband to these areas can have. William Reed from Technology for All spoke about how their wireless network in Houston not only increased access to free internet services but it also drove the adoption of commercial broadband services.
I heard a new term from Blanco Gordo, PhD. of the Center for Latino Policy Research from the University of California, Berkley-“Digital Destitution” which is beyond the idea of digital divide but instead areas that have persons desperate for those services.
All of us in Minnesota as we work on our applications and begin thinking about round two we need to consider the lack of services and “digital destitution” that we still might be facing in our own backyard.

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