Nominate someone for the Government Experience Awards 2018

As always, I’ve love to see Minnesota sweep the awards…

The Center for Digital Government (CDG) invites nominations for its Government Experience Awards 2018, where the recognition of the previous Best of the Web and Digital Government Achievement Awards is taken to the next level, and we celebrate achievements and learn best practices from states, counties, cities and federal agencies/departments that have gone beyond the web to radically improve upon the experience of government, and push the boundaries of how services are delivered.

Submission Deadline: Tuesday, May 1, 2018.

For more information and entry form, visit

New in 2018: An informational and data-collection matrix is provided with many avenues/ methodologies or “channels” of  government experience, such as the website, mobile devices, and social media – you are asked for details for up to the top 3 “channels”/ methods of citizen/business interaction with their government, in one set of questions. CDG will share the aggregated results, which include new technologies, with eligible participants.

Overall Experience Awards
All U.S. state, county and city governments may nominate their jurisdictions’ experience for the Overall category:

Award categories:
State Government
County Government
City Government

Project Experience Awards
U.S. state and local governments and their individual agencies and departments, and U.S. federal agencies/departments may nominate their projects for the Project Experience Awards. Private sector companies may nominate in the Project Experience category, “Business-to-government”.

Award categories:
Federal Government agencies/departments

Top government jurisdictions, agencies and departments will be honored at a celebratory, high-energy awards event this fall, Sept. 28, 2018 in Austin, Texas.

Congrats to two smart MN providers: CTC and Arvig for recent accolades from NTCA

Happy to see Minnesota represented

NTCA Announces Smart Rural Community Grant and Showcase Award Recipients

Austin, Texas (February 26, 2018)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today announced four Smart Rural CommunitySM Collaboration Challenge grants and recognized four SRC Showcase Award recipients as part of the association’s initiative to highlight efforts that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business.

The goal of the NTCA Smart Rural Community initiative is to foster the development of smart communities throughout rural America and Canada by encouraging innovative implementation of broadband solutions and access to next-generation applications for distance learning, telehealth services, public safety and security. Smart Rural Community provides educational programming, matching grant resources and an award program to recognize top-performing communities.

The Collaboration Challenge grants promote development of broadband-enabled solutions for communities and support collaborative efforts in economic development, education, energy, health care and public safety.

The SRC Collaboration Challenge grant recipients are:

  • Consolidated Telecommunications Co. (Brainerd, Minn.) received a grant to enable a full classroom to experience virtual reality (VR) tours of distant significant sites, scientific endeavors, and natural resources.
  • GRM Networks (Princeton, Mo.) received a grant to support a business incubator facility designed to train area high school students in business development; the facility will be staffed by senior citizen volunteers.
  • Panhandle Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Guymon, Okla.) received a grant for the installation of an HD surveillance and security system at a 32-acre public park; the system will also support public WiFi access.
  • Star Communications (Clinton, N.C.) received a grant to support the implementation of digital literacy and interactive learning programs for pre-K students at a local preschool and day care center.

The SRC Showcase Award recipients are:

  • Arvig (Walker, Minn.)
  • Atlantic Telephone Membership Corp. (ATMC) (Brunswick County, N.C.)
  • Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative, Inc. (Pikeville, Tenn.)
  • Bruce Telephone Co. (Bruce, Miss.)

In addition to receiving national and local recognition for their extraordinary efforts, the selected Smart Rural Community award recipients will join recipients of prior year awards to formulate best practices and assist other rural communities in the implementation of innovative broadband-enabled solutions to drive economic and community strength in rural areas throughout the nation.

For more information about the initiative, visit


Nominate someone for a Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award

OK – let’s get some rural Minnesota names in the hopper…

The third Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award is officially open for nominations! The award will be presented in April at Net Inclusion 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA).
Do you know someone who has been a champion of digital equity? Potential nominees could either be long time veterans of the digital inclusion field, or new and passionate supporters of digital skills for all. Nationally focused or locally based – We are looking for everyone making difference!
Please circulate widely. For more information, visit
Deadline March 28

Blandin Robust Network Feasibility Fund grants – deadline March 16

Learn more at the Blandin Foundation website

Since 2007, the Robust Network Feasibility Fund has provided matching grants to communities to support the cost of research of the feasibility of geographically based broadband networks.

The words “feasibility study” mean different things to different people and can refer to technical, financial, organizational or political components of a proposed development. A feasibility study can also refer to different stages of a project, where preliminary, intermediate or final business plan stages include different levels of research and detail. The Blandin Foundation’s Robust Network Feasibility Fund acknowledges that communities are at different stages of development when they apply for support and consider proposals at any stage and for any component(s) as long as:

  1. The community or region identifies which stages and components are being proposed.
  2. Any earlier stages not yet completed are included in the proposed activities.
  3. Studies completed by the community for earlier stages are included with the application.

The next grant application deadline is March 16, 2018. Subsequent quarterly grant application deadlines for 2018 will be announced.

Applications are Open for MHTA’s 2018 Scholarship!

News from the MHTA that I thought folks could use…

Applications will remain open until April 1. Scholarships are offered to help Minnesota undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines work toward their degrees. These awards range from $2,500 – $5,000 and can include internship opportunities at MHTA member companies.

Good luck – it would be nice to see the opportunities spread throughout Minnesota!

Position open on the Minnesota Broadband Task Force

Steve Lewsader left the Minnesota Broadband Task Force at the end of 2017. That leaves one seat open and they are looking for applications.

Here’s the mission as reported on the Boards & Commissions website

To develop, implement and promote state broadband policy, planning and initiatives to achieve State broadband needs and goals. Inventory, assess and report on various aspects of broadband. Develop a Minnesota Broadband Plan outline.

It looks like they will review applications on Feb 4. The group meetings monthly. Two people have already applied. You can apply directly from the website.

MN Office of Broadband Development is hiring

Great people, great mission…

Job Class: Grants Specialist Coordinator
Working Title: Broadband Grants Administrator

  • Who May Apply: Open to all qualified job seekers
  • Date Posted: 01/10/2018
  • Closing Date: 01/16/2018
  • Hiring Agency/Seniority Unit: Employment and Economic Development
  • Division/Unit: Broadband Development
  • Work Shift/Work Hours: Day Shift
  • Days of Work: Monday – Friday
  • Travel Required: Yes
  • Salary Range: $24.32 – $35.91/hourly; $50,780 – $70,980/annually
  • Classified Status: Classified
  • Connect 700 Program Eligible: Yes

Job Summary

The purpose of this position is to develop, promote, implement, provide technical assistance for, evaluate and report on state and/or federally funded financing programs of the Office of Broadband Development. The Office develops and administers programs designed to achieve high quality broadband access for all Minnesotans and to support and promote the skills necessary to adopt and use broadband tools for economic, educational, health, and institutional benefits.  Programs administered include the following:

  1. Border-to-Border Infrastructure Grant Program which provides state financing for DEED approved broadband infrastructure expansion projects.
  2. Supporting and maximizing Minnesota entities participation in federally-funded broadband infrastructure programs.
  3. Digital literacy, broadband adoption and use programs.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s Degree in Planning, Community and Economic Development, Political Science, Public Administration, or related to broadband AND two (2) years of professional grant management experience involving evaluating, administering, accounting for, training and/or monitoring of grants proposals, grant agreements, or grant recipients.

Extensive knowledge of federal and state laws, rules, regulations, policies and procedures with the ability to effectively interpret and communicate those to grant recipients.

Professional experience working with training and workforce issues, including but not limited to business and economic development issues, instructional design and methods, labor market data and employment projections, accrediting standards, industry certifications, training resources, federal poverty guidelines, strategic planning, finance, and marketing.

Working knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, financial training to understand financial statements and records and have the training and/or ability to analyze both corporate and municipal financial statements, audits, forecasts, budgets, and demographics

Preferred Qualifications:

Relevant experience and familiarity with the broadband industry in Minnesota or another state.

Additional Requirements

Resumes of all applicants to this posting will be evaluated against the Minimum Qualifications stated above.  If your skills match the required skills for this position, the department may contact you.  Employee reference checks will be conducted on all finalists.  This may include a review of documentation related to job performance.  It includes contact with the applicant’s current and/or former employers.

A Criminal Background Check will be conducted on all finalists for this position.  A criminal conviction will not automatically remove you from consideration for employment.

When the position requires travel and the applicant drives a state owned or leased vehicle, a driver’s license and record check will be conducted.
Application Details

Why Work For Us

GREAT BENEFITS PACKAGE! The State of Minnesota offers a comprehensive benefits package including low cost medical and dental insurance, employer paid life insurance, short and long term disability, pre-tax flexible spending accounts, retirement plan, tax-deferred compensation, generous vacation and sick leave, and 11 paid holidays each year.

How to Apply

Click “Apply” at the bottom of this page. If you are unable to apply online, please contact the job information line at 651.259.3637.

For additional information about the application process, go to


If you have questions about the position, contact Jolene Blaser at