Local Solutions for Globally Competitive Connectivity #MNBroadband Conference

As we wait, destined for disappointment, for the next infrastructure week with hopes of new federal money to expand broadband access, we should reflect on the solutions that have led to communities in the upper Midwest being some of the most connected rural regions on the planet. Not only is great Internet access possible in all of Minnesota, we are well on our way and have all the models we need to achieve border-to-border high-quality Internet access. The question is what local leaders can and will do in 2020 and beyond to take advantage of current opportunities.

Tech for Older Adults – Exciting Tools for Health and Social Engagement #MNBroadband Conference

For older adults, being socially isolated can have the same impact on health as smoking nearly a pack of cigarettes per day according to researchers. Learn how three community projects are using technology to help older adults stay connected—with interactive distance learning, virtual community education sessions, and a web-based resource for local events and services.

Notes: Tech for Older Adults–Exciting Tools for Health and Social Engagement.


Work to creativity engagement Older Adults through dance and theatre.

Interactive movements and workshops that can be done at home following the streaming process with Kairos Alive!

Leading Age in MN

–          Healthy aging Pilots that connect and promoteI local resources in Rural Communities.

–          Interactive video in different areas of the Moorhead area.

–          Rural Pilots : Silos to circles partners with communities to improve the experience of aging.

–          What is needed to live ad age well in the Chisago area. Information about activities, transportation.

Representing the Digitally Under-Represented in Economic Development #MNBroadband Conference

The New Vision Foundation works with disadvantaged youth in Minnesota with a program that combines tech training with internships and mentors to help develop skills and networking connections required in the work world. It’s a holistic approach that helps students and their families.

Supporting Freelancers – Tech-based Entrepreneurship and Telework #MNBroadband Conference

The future of work is changing. For better or worse, more and more people are participating in the “gig economy” meaning more flexibility but less stability. With broadband, working from home or operating a home-based business is becoming the norm. What can communities do to help local people successfully adapt to this trend and bring more income and wealth to the area?

Notes: Supporting Freelancers-Tech-based Entrepreneurship and Telework.

Angie Dickison

–          Ways we can use the investment and use the infrastructure to promote growth in the community.

–          Telecommuter forward was started in Wisconsin, will be launched in MN soon. Its not a commitment for the community to invest in infrastructure but it is a commitment for support and a single point of support for technology in the community.

–          Helps make it possible to work from home.

Ryan Pesch

Showing the percentage of people who are moving to rural areas and working from home.

How do we support Positive Entrepreneurial Climate?

High-speed internet, Local patronage, business networks and fair treatments. Support one another and how do we learn technology from this. It’s about building knowledge and community to help teach others how to use technology.

Surveys showing how many people work in rural areas and how technology and network would be beneficial to their work.

Incorporating Cultural Awareness into Tech Training #MNBroadband Conference

Technology can be complicated. In this session we’ll talk about how to embrace cultural awareness to help inspire students, create better programming, and reach out to multiple communities while tackling digital inclusion.

This was a rich discussion but we didn’t record to keep the conversation more authentic.

Tech-Enabled Approaches to Attracting Businesses and People #MNBroadband Conference

Rural communities and regions want to attract people and businesses to ensure a bright local future. This panel will highlight the efforts, successes and challenges of three rural regions in creating an environment that is attractive and supportive to new and existing residents and businesses alike.

Notes: Cheryal Hills

–          How do we retain talent once it comes to our region?

–          Branding your community

–          Connected low income farmers with food cooperatives, and also their ‘Mobile Market’

–          Technology necessary for adequate education, which is a priority for families thinking of moving

–          Accessible and multilingual tech applications to demonstrate cultural values and attract a larger pool of people

Kirk Bustrom

–          Supported 3 counties that were participating in the Border to Border Broadband initiative

–          Tourism as a workforce attraction strategy

–          Used mobile devices that were connected to ArcGIS to analyze housing stock in order to access state funding

Bill Coleman

–          Flip from trying to attract companies to trying to attract people

–          A Blandin Broadband Community used program funding to train 20 welders

Closing the Digital Divide in Your Community #MNBroadband Conference

Everyone loves libraries. Even in the age of Google libraries are nowhere near obsolete. They are adapting services, programs and resources to serve a 21st century audience. Librarians understand technology and provide access to the internet, on- and off-site computers and other devices, like mobile hotspots. Your local library can be a great partner for closing the digital divide. Learn how Libraries without Borders is teaming with public libraries across Minnesota to extend technology-based library services to community sites, like laundromats and manufactured housing communities.