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.
Mahnomen County ranks 85 out of 87 counties for digital equity. The good news is that investments will be made in digital equity in the next few years and Mahnomen will make a good candidate with rankings so low. The other good news is that Mahnomen has worked on digital equity in the past and will have local experts and a history of programming from which to learn.
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||77|
|No HS degree||84|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||87|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||87|
|No broadband access||54|
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:
- Mahnomen School District (ISD #432)
Superintendent Jeff Bisek
(218) 935-2211 x110
- Waubun-Ogema-White Earth School District (ISD #435)
Superintendent Lisa Weber
Regional Development Commission
- Headwaters 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|
|City of Mahnomen||City Hall Conference Room Tech Upgrades||Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of community meetings by upgrading technology in the Mahnomen City Hall conference room, allowing them to host virtual meetings. The room will continue to be available to various community organizations.|
|Gizhiigin Arts Incubator||Youth Asset Map||Build new technology knowledge and skills among youth in 4-6th grades by conducting workshops where students will create 3-5 informational QR spots around Mahnomen educating visitors about attractions and traditions.|
|Helping Hands Food Shelf||Computers and Inventory Software||Improve the efficiency of Helping Hands Food Shelf and improve access to food for community members by providing a computer and implementing a software program to track inventory and use, including allowing clients to pre-order food.|
|Lake Agassiz Regional Library||Library Technology Upgrade||Increase library-users’ access to technology through the purchase of a new machine capable of color printing, copying, scanning, and faxing.|
|Mahnomen County EDA||Co-Working Services Launch||Provide support and services for entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing free access for two years to the co-working space for White Earth Nation tribal members and other qualifying Mahnomen County entrepreneurs.|
|Mahnomen County EDA||EDA Website and Digital Logos||Increase visibility and access to Mahnomen County EDA programs, events, and resources by building a new EDA website. This project includes creating a digital brand identity for the EDA and City of Mahnomen, and upgraded technology for clients and staff.|
|White Earth Tribal Community College||Bookstore Marketing Project||Foster cultural revitalization by increasing the community’s access to locally made beading and crafting supplies and materials through the creation of a digital storefront for the White Earth Tribal Community College Bookstore.|
|White Earth Tribal Community College||WETCC Digital Mktg Geofencing Campaign||Market White Earth Tribal Community College cultural programs and increase student enrollment through a digital marketing campaign that utilizes videography and geofencing to target specific demographics.|