Big news, big opportunity…
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy today announced that USDA is accepting applications for grants to help increase access to education, training and health care resources in rural communities.
USDA is making $71.7 million in grants available under the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program. This program helps rural communities use telecommunications-based audio and video equipment to connect teachers, students, medical providers and rural residents with each other and the world.
Applicants in rural areas of 20,000 people or less who provide education or health care services through
telecommunications facilities are eligible to apply. Applications will be scored, reviewed and selected on a
Applications must be submitted to the applicant’s nearest USDA office or electronically via grants.gov by
April, 10, 2020. For more information, visit grants.gov.
Learn more and good luck!
The USDA announces…
Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced USDA will begin taking applications for the second round of $550 million in ReConnect Program loan and grant funding on January 31. These funds will enable the federal government to continue to partner with the private sector and rural communities to build modern broadband infrastructure in areas with insufficient internet service. Insufficient service is defined as connection speeds of less than 10 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload. Beginning Friday, ReConnect funding applications can be submitted at www.usda.gov/reconnect.
More info on eligibility and tech support…
Telecommunications companies, rural electric cooperatives and utilities, internet service providers and municipalities may apply for funding through USDA’s ReConnect Program to connect rural areas that currently have insufficient broadband service. Through the ReConnect Program, USDA is making available approximately $200 million for grants, as well as up to $200 million for loan and grant combinations, and up to $200 million for low-interest loans. Funds will be awarded to projects that have financially sustainable business models that will bring high-speed broadband to rural homes, businesses, farms, ranches and community facilities such as first responders, health care sites and schools.
To assist potential providers with their applications, USDA is hosting technical assistance and training webinars across the country. To see an updated list of dates and locations, or to register for a workshop or webinar, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect/events.
MN DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) announces…
We’re pleased to roll out a new economic development tool to promote the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities – Telecommuter Forward! We know that fast, reliable broadband access improves quality of life, makes businesses more competitive, and provides career opportunities for our Greater Minnesota workforce. Friendly telecommuting policies build on those strengths by adding new potential for startup creation among rural entrepreneurs, co-working spaces that spark creativity, and new opportunities for civic engagement and collaboration.
The Telecommuter Forward! Program was presented to the Minnesota Legislature by DEED’s Broadband team last session. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Tim Walz in May.
DEED’s Office of Broadband Development is now accepting applications for Telecommuter Forward! Community certification. To become certified in the Telecommuter Forward Program, Minnesota cities, villages, towns, or counties must adopt a resolution that includes a statement of support and commitment to promote telecommuting. The Office of Broadband Development has created a model resolution to help get you started.
Since 2014, DEED has awarded over $85 million in broadband infrastructure grants to fund 110 projects across Minnesota, with the goal of border-to-border broadband access. The Telecommuter Forward! Community certification expands upon these efforts by allowing communities to promote themselves as destinations for Minnesotans interested in telecommuting.
For more information about the application process for Telecommuter Forward! certification, contact the Office of Broadband Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-259-7610.
We’re planning to recognize our first certified community in February – and there will be more information to come.
– Commissioner Steve Grove
From the Bush Foundation...
The Bush Foundation works to inspire and support creative problem solving — within and across sectors — to make our region better for everyone. We know problem solving is hard. Our Ecosystem grant program is designed to provide operating support to the programs and organizations that do the most to support the people doing this work.
Some might call these infrastructure organizations or intermediary organizations or just can’t-do-without organizations. We call them Ecosystem organizations because they create the environment for organizations and leaders to solve problems and make the region better for everyone.
Ecosystem grants provide operating support to programs and organizations that our grantees, Fellows and other organizations rely heavily on to:
- Provide critical data and analysis.
- Spread great ideas and build capacity.
- Advance public awareness and policy.
- Build and support leadership networks.
We are looking for Ecosystem grantees that support organizations and leaders working to advance the goals of our focus areas.
Organizations may apply to receive as much as $300,000 over three years in operating support. The annual grant amount is typically 25% of the organization’s expenses, up to $100,000 per year. All Ecosystem grantees will receive an additional $10,000 in capacity building funds to build or increase their skills to work across differences.
Great opportunity for the right person…
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance seeks a GIS and Data Visualization Intern to support ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative in Minneapolis, MN. We are looking for candidates that have a passion for policy and visualizing data. We work on a wide range of issues including universal Internet access, network neutrality, and municipal broadband. You will be working alongside the GIS and Data Visualization Researcher for the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the opportunity to learn aspects of GIS and data analysis specific to a public policy setting. We strongly value a diverse workforce and are committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity. ILSR promotes an environment free of discrimination and harassment and our Minneapolis office is located in a welcoming neighborhood.
Learn more – applications due Jan 17.
An opportunity from the MN High Tech Association…
A new year means a new cohort of ACE Leaders! MHTA is excited to announce that applications are now open to join the 2020 ACE cohort. This incoming class of ACE leaders marks MHTA’s 15th cohort. Are you a rising technology leader looking to expand your leadership competencies, grow your network, and deepen your impact in the larger technology community here in Minnesota? Apply to join the ACE leadership program & share this information with potential ACE leaders today!
I love this idea – a competition to innovate solutions that improve the lives of people with disabilities. They report on the Destination Medical Center website…
The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. The Challenge is also intended to strengthen their ability to live more independently and help reduce the direct support workforce crisis confronting communities in the region and across the United States.
Participants in the Assistive Tech Challenge should develop a product or service related to:
Access to employment
Support for care providers
Social skill development
Improved public infrastructure
And some of the details…
- First Place in each category will receive $5,000. Second Place in each category will receive $2,500.
- All first and second place teams will be eligible to participate in the Walleye Tank pitch competition in Minneapolis in May 2020.
- Online Application Form will be available on January 6, 2020. Deadline for application is February 10, 2020.