Become a mobile hotspot lending pilot for Mobile Beacon – apply before Sep 30

Great opportunity from Mobile Beacon for those who qualify…

Mobile Beacon works hand-in-hand with community organizations to create digital inclusion programs that provide the internet to the people that need it most. Together, we help connect people to this vital tool to improve their lives.

Clearing the Runway for More Digital Inclusion Programs

You can be a part of this life-changing work. We know that local community anchor institutions understand the evolving needs of their communities best. That’s why we’re offering the Wi-Fly Lending Launch Kit to help you create programs that will really take off.

When you become one of our pilot sites, you’ll have access to the full Wi-Fly Lending Launch Kit which includes:

  • 25 donated 4G LTE mobile hotspots
  • FREE unlimited EBS 4G LTE mobile broadband during the pilot program
  • 25 donated laptops

That’s an estimated value of $10,000!

Do you have a brilliant idea for maximizing affordable, high-speed and mobile internet to serve the people in your community?

How to Apply

Pilot applications should have a clear focus on how mobile, high-speed internet will make a tangible change for the people you serve. Provide as much detail as you need to explain what you plan to do and how you will measure your impact.

The application deadline is Monday, September 30, 2019.

Opportunity: Governor’s Workforce Development Board

I found two board opportunities today that I thought might be of interest – well two positions where it would be nice to have someone with an interest in developing greater broadband use and access…

Vacancies: 1 Seat – Business Member
Business members are from Minnesota’s six regional workforce development areas and represent the following priority industry sectors: Health care and Social Assistance, Manufacturing, Construction, Professional and Business Services and Natural Resources.

Powers and Duties: The board, under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, WIOA, shall assist the Governor in: developing, implementing,and modifying the State plan, review of statewide policies and programs, providing recommendations on actions to align and improve the workforce development system and programs, develop strategies to identify and remove barriers for better alignment, support career pathways, provide outreach to individuals and employers benefitting from the system, developing and updating comprehensive state performance accountability measures, and disseminating of best practices. The board shall provide support to local boards and regions, and assume responsibilities for Title I Workforce Development Activities, Title 2 Adult Education and Literacy, Title 3 Wagner-Peyser and Title 4 Vocational Rehabilitation. The board will also be responsible for the development of strategies for one stop partners, the alignment of technologies and data systems, the enhancement of digital literacy skills, fiscal accountability and the acceleration of industry-recognized post-secondary credentials.
Restrictions to Membership:
The board consists of 43 voting members including the Governor, Commissioners of the Departments of Employment and Economic Development, Human Services, Education, two elected officials (City/County), 23 Private sector members whom are business owners, chief executives or operating officers or employers with optimum policy-making or hiring authority representing in-demand industry sectors, five labor representatives from labor organizations who have been nominated by state labor federations, one labor member representing a joint labor-management apprenticeship or training program, two community-based organizations with demonstrated experience in addressing employment, training or education needs with a priority on individuals with barriers to employment, four education representatives as follows: one University of Minnesota senior leadership, the Chancellor of Minnesota State, one member representing public education with expertise in design and implementation of school-based, service learning (Career Technical Education), one private post-secondary senior leadership. The Leaders from the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate shall appoint two ex officio members from each. The 17 non-voting members include: one member representing Adult Basic Education, one public libraries representative, one member representing the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA), two community-based organizations with demonstrated experience in addressing employment, training, or education needs with a priority on individuals with barriers to employment, one member (Chair or Executive Director) representing the Minnesota Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), two members representing school-based service learning and secondary STEM education, a representative of the Council on Asian-Pacific Minnesotans, a representative of the Council for Minnesotans of African Heritage, a representative of the Minnesota Council on Latino Affairs, a representative of the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, a representative of the Minnesota Council on Disability, and the Commissioners of the Departments of Corrections, Labor and Industry, Office of Higher Education, and Minnesota Management and Budget.
Meeting Information: The full board for 2019-20 will meet quarterly, at a minimum; the executive, operations and additional standing committees, ad-hoc committees or task force(s) will meet per a schedule established by the board.
Meeting Location: Quarterly business meetings are held in March, June, September and December at various locations in the greater Twin Cities metro area.


Technology First Advisory Task Force
Compensation: 0.00

    2 Seats – Individual with Disabilities Accessing Supportive Technology
    1 Seat – Advocating Change Together Representative
    1 Seat – ARC Minnesota Representative
    1 Seat – Assistive Technology Professional – Licensed and practicing
    1 Seat – Associations of Residential Resources in Minnesota (ARRM) – Staff or Member
    2 Seats – County Representatives
    1 Seat – Minnesota Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Minnesota)
    1 Seat – Minnesota Disability Law Center (MDLC) Representative
    1 Seat – Minnesota Organization of Habilitation and Rehabilitation (MOHR) Member
    3 Seats – Minnesota Tribal Nations Representatives (3 Seats)
    1 Seat – Parent/Unpaid Guardian of a Person with a Disability Accessing Supportive Technology
    1 Seat – Speech Pathologist or Occupational Therapist – Licensed, practicing, and uses assistive technology in professional work.
    1 Seat – Traumatic Brain injury (TBI) Advisory Committee Representative

Powers and Duties:
This is an task force to advise the commissioner on how to increase the use of technology by people with disabilities.

Restrictions to Membership:
Members of this advisory task force are defined in the Laws of MN 2019 with the addition of subject matter expert members as identified by the Commissioner.
Meeting Information: Meetings are expected to be held on a quarterly basis, with the 1st meeting being approximate 6 hours, and all other meetings about 3 hours.
Meeting Location: 444 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155

Visit the Open Positions page for more info. 

OPPORTUNITY: Job Opening – Operations Manager, FDL Communications, Full Time

While I’ve never been an employee at Fond du Lac, I have worked there and I think it’s a great place. The people are nice, the setting is gorgeous. So this could be a great position for the right person…

Title: Operations Manager, FDL Communications, Full Time
Location: FDL Tribal Center
Supervisor: Tribal Enterprises Executive Director
Closing Date: August 9, 2019


General Summary:

The Operations Lead/Supervisor/Manager is responsible for Fond du Lac Communications Fiber to the Home (FTTH) telecommunications and technology operations, initiatives and project management. The Operations Manager plays an integral role in the FTTH support, technology and future growth.

Position Responsibilities:


  • Plans, organizes, and directs the implementation and support of the fiber to the home telecommunications and technology operations and related projects.
  • Directs management and support for telecommunication and technology operational areas and assigned resources. These areas include: sales, marketing, customer service, billing, inside and outside plant maintenance and operations, network support, and subscriber services.
  • Supervise, hire, train, and evaluate telecommunications staff to ensure seamless execution of departmental policies, procedures and customer satisfaction.
  • Performs within the parameters set by RBC authority including mission, policies, planning, budgets and executive management.
  • Performs and assists with project management as requested or assigned.

Read more.

Is Your Community Ready to Join the Smart21?

I’ve talked before about the Intelligent Community Forum, a strategy for using broadband (and more) as an economic and community development tool. Also it’s a contest of sorts and they are inviting people to entertain the idea of applying…

ICF publishes research based on the data provided by communities like yours around the world. The goal is to provide cities, towns and regions of all sizes with evidence-based guidance on achieving economic, social and cultural growth in the challenging digital age.

By completing this questionnaire, you will:

  • Receive a free Snapshot Report offering six insights into your community’s global competitiveness.
  • Be considered for one of ICF’s By the Numbers public rankings of Inteligent Communities.
  • Become eligible – with your permission – to compete in the Intelligent Community Awards.
  • Have the opportunity to purchase an Analytics Report that provides in-depth analysis of strengths and weaknesses as well as recommendations for change.

There is no cost to submit a questionnaire. If you wish to be considered for the 2020 Intelligent Community Awards, the deadline to submit a questionnaire is September 23, 2019. Click here to learn more and submit your questionnaire. Nominees for the Intelligent Community Awards are evaluated based on ICF’s six indicators that make up the ICF Method. Click here to learn more.

BUT – before you fill out the questionnaire – you might want to consider attending one of the sessions Blandin will be offering to learn more about the ICF process.

Here is the schedule:

  • Red Wing* Monday, August 12 9:00-10:30 am
    Red Wing Ignite 419 Bush Street Red Wing, MN 55066
  • Brainerd Tuesday, August 13 9:00-10:30 am
    Brainerd Lakes Area Development Corp. 224 West Washington Street Brainerd, MN 56401
  • Bemidji Wednesday, August 14 9:30-11:00 am
    Bemidji Launchpad 102 1st Street West Bemidji, MN 56601
  • Appleton Monday, August 19 1:00-2:30 pm
    Upper MN Valley Regional Dev. Commission Appleton Civic Center 323 West Schlieman Avenue Appleton, Minnesota 56208

Register online.

Office of Advocacy announces new funding for Small Business Research – deadline Aug 16

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announces opportunities for business research…

The Office of Advocacy is pleased to announce new funding opportunities for small business research.  The Office of Advocacy periodically funds economic research on small business issues, and is currently seeking research proposals in six areas: bank formation, cybersecurity, population dynamics, entrepreneur demographics, veteran entrepreneurship, and miscellaneous small business topics.  Links to each solicitation are below, and are also accessible by searching FedBizOpps for Small Business Administration listings or the solicitation numbers below.  Proposal submissions are open until Friday, August 16.

Some topics have a clear broadband connection; some seem like opportunities, especially to study the impact of broadband adoption (digital equity) initiatives…

JOB OPPORTUNITY: Director of State Broadband and Telecommunications Access (WI)

A good opportunity for the right person, and Wisconsin isn’t that far away…

The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) is recruiting for the Director of State Broadband and Telecommunications Access in the Division of Digital Access, Consumer and Environmental Affairs. This position is responsible for ensuring the continued sound, effective and accountable day-to-day management of PSC grant programs including the Broadband Expansion Grant programUniversal Service Nonprofit Access Grants, and Universal Service Fund Telemedicine grants. This position is further responsible for continuous improvement, consistency, and internal process and integrity across the grant programs, and will impact digital access for rural and underserved communities, as well as low-income and disabled residents of Wisconsin.

The PSC is an independent state agency that is responsible for regulating more than 1,100 Wisconsin public utilities, which provide electric, natural gas, combined water and sewer utilities and certain aspects of local telephone service to households and businesses throughout the state. The PSC’s mission is to ensure that safe, sufficient, and reasonably priced utility services are provided to all Wisconsin customers.

This position is located on the west side of Madison, Wisconsin in the brand new Hill Farms State Office Building. We provide amazing benefits, which include an excellent retirement plan, extensive health insurance options, and ample paid time off, as well as the opportunity for challenges and advancements that will enhance your professional career. To learn more about the PSC, please visit our website.

Current Career Executives are not eligible to apply by taking the assessment. If you are a current Career Executive and interested in applying, please see the How to Apply section for details on the application process.

FCC Chairman Pai Forms Precision Agriculture Task Force – apply before July 17

Oh please let there be some Minnesotans on the Precision Ag Task Force. And if you get on the Task Force please meet me for lunch after the meetings to tell me all about it…

The Federal Communications Commission announces the formation of a new federal advisory committee, the Task Force for Reviewing Connectivity and Technology Needs of Precision Agriculture in the United States (Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force or Task Force), upon approval by the General Services Administration (GSA). The Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force will perform duties and will submit reports. The FCC seeks nominations for membership on and a Chairperson to the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force. The FCC intends to establish the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force for an initial period of two (2) years. Nominations for membership to the Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force should be submitted to the FCC no later than July 17, 2019.

In consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, or a designee of the Secretary, and in collaboration with public and private stakeholders in the agriculture and technology fields, the Task Force will:

  • identify and measure current gaps in the availability of broadband Internet access service on agricultural land;
  • develop policy recommendations to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of broadband Internet access service on unserved agricultural land, with a goal of achieving reliable capabilities on 95 percent of agricultural land in the United States by 2025;
  • promote effective policy and regulatory solutions that encourage the adoption of broadband Internet access service on farms and ranches and promote precision agriculture;
  • recommend specific new rules or amendments to existing rules of the Commission that the Commission should issue to achieve the goals and purposes of the policy recommendations described in the second bullet in this list;
  • recommend specific steps that the Commission should take to obtain reliable and standardized data measurements of the availability of broadband Internet access service as may be necessary to target funding support, from future programs of the FCC dedicated to the deployment of broadband Internet access service, to unserved agricultural land in need of broadband Internet access service; and
  • recommend specific steps that the Commission should consider to ensure that the expertise of the Secretary and available farm data are reflected in future programs of the Commission dedicated to the infrastructure deployment of broadband Internet access service and to direct available funding to unserved agricultural land where needed.

In addition, not later than one (1) year after the date on which the FCC officially establishes the Task Force, and annually thereafter, the Task Force will submit to the FCC Chairman a report, which shall be made public, that details:

  • the status of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access service coverage of agricultural land;
  • the projected future connectivity needs of agricultural operations, farmers, and ranchers; and
  • the steps being taken to accurately measure the availability of broadband Internet access service on agricultural land and the limitations of current, as of the date of the report, measurement processes.