The Blandin Foundation recently published an inclusive assessment of the last cohort of Blandin Broadband Communities. Including a segment on Hibbing…
The Hibbing IRBC effort was led by the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce. During the first round the team focused on projects to raise the the technology skills of local businesses and entrepreneurs. The Digital Marketing for Small Businesses project was so successful they selected an additional sixteen businesses after the initial round of seven.
The Hibbing team also prioritized digital inclusion-focused projects, including:
• Purchase of twenty mobile Internet hotspots for library check-out.
• New public Wi-Fi hotspots in the community. • One hundred refurbished computers distributed to income-qualifying families, seniors and the disabled through PCs for People.
• Helped Hibbing Community College host a Technology Career Fair for students in grades 9-12.
Continuing with their business focus, in the second round the BBC team worked with TechTank to host for the Hibbing business community a series of free-to-attend monthly meet-ups with paid facilitators on topics such as entrepreneurship, financial management, and marketing.
Second round projects also help community anchor institutions maximize community benefits from the internet. They include: • Helping Access North Center for Independent Living implement an aging-in-place initiative, using smart home technology to allow seniors to stay in their homes as long as possible.
• Partnering with Fairview Range to supply devices for use by residents at Serenity House, a residence used by cancer patients, allowing patients to access medical care records and to stay in touch with families and friends.
• Creating a mesh-network to provide low-cost internet service to sixty low income apartment units at the local public housing complex.
• Purchasing devices to connect eleven area emergency vehicles with the Fairview Range Emergency Room.