Every year, the Blandin on Broadband blog does County Broadband Profiles (and will do again when the new maps come out) but given federal opportunities are making it possible to get funding for access and adoption, I thought I’d try to present information for counties to assess their digital equity standing (see table below) and give options for who to contact locally for more information.
Jackson County ranks 36 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Their ranking for different demographic tracts are interesting. They higher for poverty rates (17 for population living below poverty) while educational attainment ranks lower (44 rank for no high school degree. Access to technology (no computer ranks 29 and no broadband subscription is 36) is right in the middle. They are really in a in a position where they need to work on the three pillars of digital equity: affordable access to broadband, device ownership and the skills to use them. They do have a history of digital inclusion initiatives, so that will help
Scroll down for details and suggested resources for more information.
Blandin Foundation is using the Microsoft Digital Equity Tool to determine needs by county and make high level recommendations for next steps to consider based on the data. (With special thanks to Carter Grupp, Broadband Coordinator Broadband Coordinator at American Connection Project for Otter Tail County.) Visit the tool if you want to look up more statistics on your community.
Demographic Data and Ranking (out of 87)
|Access to 100/20||35|
|No HS degree||44|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||29|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||17|
|No broadband access||1|
The map below shows digital inequity by census tract. The bluer the better; yellow and orange colors indicate more inequity. This map can be helpful in figuring out which parts of your county need the most help.
So where do you go to talk to people in the county about digit equity plans? Good places to start include:
- Plum Creek Library System
- Heron Lake-Okabena Public School District (ISD #330)
Superintendent Paul Bang
(507) 853-4507 x1108
- Jackson County Central School District (ISD #2895)
Superintendent Mr. Barry Schmidt
(507) 847-3608 x6613
Regional Development Commission
- Southwest Regional Development Commission
There’s a lot to take in but sometimes it’s also helpful to see what a community has done in the past, so we’ve gathered specific projects funded through the Blandin Foundation:
|Project Owner||Project Name||Description|
|ISD 2907 Round Lake Brewster||Purchase Mobile Communication Devices for preschool and ECFE programs||Project support to provide access to mobile devices at the schools for P-8 students and their families, and to their local communities through Community Ed classes, open lab time, and Social Media Breakfasts as part of the Broadband Program|
|Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services||Mobile technology for intergenerational use||Project support for intergenerational use of technology throughout the Jackson Medical Center to patients and visitors in rural Minnesota as part of the Broadband Program|
|Jackson County Library||Tablet Access for Everyone||Project support to provide increased library access to mobile devices and the internet for individuals, preschools and seniors, and for other organizations on a check-out basis as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|Southwest MN Broadband Services||Social Media Breakfasts||Project support to sustain the educational effort and dialogue around internet-based marketing in rural Minnesota as part of the Broadband Program|
|Southwest MN Broadband Services||Hot Spots (Wi-Fi for Everyone)||Project support to identify and develop local wi-fi hot spots in member communities in rural Minnesota as part of the Broadband Program|
|Southwest MN Broadband Services||Online Presence for All||Provide educational opportunities, assistance, and ongoing support for businesses, NPO’s, recreational resources, and government entities to develop a deliberate and comprehensive social media presence in rural Minnesota as part of the Broadband Program|
|ISD 330 Heron Lake-Okabena||Community Laptop Integration -CLI||Capital support to provide access to laptops and the internet, both at the schools for students, and to their local communities through Community Ed classes and open lab time as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|ISD 330 Heron Lake-Okabena||Access to a community computer lab and internet hotspots||Project support to provide access to a community computer lab and internet hotspots as part of the Broadband Program in rural Minnesota|
|Southwest MN Broadband Services||BCBP 6090 Technology Triangle||Project support for the 6090 Technology Triangle project in rural Minnesota as part of the Broadband Program|
|60/90 Corridor Initiative||60/90 Corridor Initiative||Project support to promote collaborative economic development activities through the use of social media and internet-based marketing and sales tools|