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.
Winona County ranks 20 out of 87 counties for digital equity. Winona’s over all rank is not bad; the individual tracts are all over the place. They are 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. The good news is that they have been working on digital equity, so they have the local expertise and community engagement.
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||42|
|No HS degree||40|
|Below 150% poverty (last 12 months)||76|
|Below poverty (last 12 months)||81|
|No broadband access||8|
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:
Southeastern Libraries Cooperating (SELCO)
- Lewiston-Altura School District (ISD #857)
Superintendent Gwen Carman
- Saint Charles School District (ISD #858)
Superintendent Jeff Apse
- Winona Independent School District (ISD #861)
Superintendent Annette Freiheit
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 Winona||Digital Front Door Website||This project will fund the redesign of the City of Winona’s website to function as a ‘digital front door,’ which will increase its usability and appeal to a wider audience. The redesign will include a new layout for the City’s website, add four new information tabs on the front page, and provide links to other prominent websites in the community.|
|City of Winona||Innovative Public Access||Innovative Public Access will provide free Wi-Fi at four public locations in the City of Winona, wireless service in all public meeting rooms in City Hall, and web streaming video for Council chamber meetings (City Council, school board, etc.)|
|City of Winona||Winona PR Project||Create public relations material that will promote Winona’s MIRC efforts and the City’s Intelligent Community assets. The material will be published on the City’s website and will be the first webpage that users see when logging into the City’s four wireless internet portals. This project will also produce a press release disbursed to targeted media outlets in the regional area (La Crosse, WI to Rochester, MN to Minneapolis/St. Paul), promotional materials for the Digital Perch website produced for the Online Support Center Website project, and content for the City’s Wireless portal at Levee Park.|
|Project FINE||Technology Education for Immigrants and Refugees||Technology Education for Immigrants and Refugees will provide customized Internet training in four phases: 1) Introduction to Technology, 2) Internet Access and Tools, 3) Access to Home Computers, and 4) Continuing Training. These classes will introduce Winona immigrants and refugees to the Internet and computers so they will be comfortable independently accessing the training options provided by the Winona Workforce Center and potentially the Minnesota Learning Commons.|
|Winona Workforce Center||E-Travel Center||The Winona Workforce Center will purchase four laptops and one laptop case for the E-Travel Center, a mobile laptop lab that can be set up at various community locations. The lab provides introduction to computers and basic Word and Excel tools training.|
|Winona Workforce Center||Online Support Center||The Workforce Center, in coordination with a web developer at Southeast Technical College will create a website that offers support to businesses exploring e-commerce, social media, and other internet business applications. In particular, the web developer will offer direct support through a blog on the website. The website will be a resource for individuals who have recently completed the Extension online training, for individuals who have completed new business training at the Workforce Center, and for small business in general.|