OPPORTUNITY: Nominate a Digital Equity Champion!

Shared from the NDIA listserv...

Friends, the Benton Digital Equity Champion awards are now open for nominations!

Who should you nominate?

  • Yourself
  • Someone in your org
  • Someone you nominated in the past (maybe this is the year for them to win!)
  • Anyone who is an Emerging Leader OR Champion for digital inclusion
  • More than one person

Why?

  • This is the biggest honor in digital inclusion in the US
  • Winners get big recognition for their digital inclusion work – at Net Inclusion conference, on NDIA platforms, and from the Benton Institute.

Nominate someone today >

OPPORTUNITY: Tech Congress Congressional Innovation Scholars Program

Tech Congress reports

APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2022 CONGRESSIONAL INNOVATION SCHOLARS PROGRAM WILL OPEN ON NOVEMBER 16, 2021.

The Congressional Innovation Scholars Program will run from June 2022 to April 2023. Fellows will receive a $60,000 annual-equivalent stipend and $9,500 in benefits.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and visit our blog for the latest news and information about the fellowship.

A little more info on the program…

Since our founding in 2015, we’ve sent 54 technologists to Congress, who’ve served with the most influential members of government, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD), the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Senate Commerce Committee. Our fellows have done groundbreaking work on issues such as data privacy, deepfake detection, voting machine security, the intersection of tech and disability rights, drone standards, defense technology innovation, operations modernization, and antitrust. As an organization, we’ve grown strategically and incrementally, iterating and improving at each step.

And today, TechCongress is thrilled to be growing again, and recruiting for our fifth class of Congressional Innovation Scholars!

Between now and January 20, we’re looking for top engineers, computer scientists, and other technologists who want to apply their skills in our nation’s capital, facing some of the greatest challenges facing our country and serving a purpose greater than any other. Even if you’ve never thought about working in government, you should give the Congressional Innovation Scholars Program a second look.

OPPORTUNITY: Job Director, Public Policy & Research at MN Tech Association

Minnesota Technology Association is hiring. It looks like a great job for the right person…

Position:  Director, Public Policy & Research

Organization:  Minnesota Technology Association

Employment Type: Full Time, Exempt

Location: Twin Cities

Reports to: President & CEO

The Minnesota Technology Association (MnTech) is a coalition of more than 200 member companies united in building a stronger tech ecosystem and innovation economy in Minnesota.  We believe Minnesota’s technology-driven companies achieve the greatest success when they have access to exceptional talent, dedicated public policy advocates, and are part of an innovative, inclusive technology community. Each year, thousands of technology professionals make meaningful connections and advance their careers through MnTech’s programs, educational opportunities, and networking events. Learn more at www.mntech.org.

In advancing its public policy agenda, MnTech is guided by the following principles:

  • We develop, support, and advocate for public policy that promotes the long-term growth, sustainability, and global competitiveness of Minnesota’s technology-based economy.
  • We believe strong, consistent, focused leadership from the private sector, working in collaboration with academic, nonprofit and government partners, is the critical link in driving our state’s development and recognition as a global technology leader.
  • We advocate for policies that strengthen Minnesota’s science and technology workforce, as well as those that leverage technology to increase government efficiency and improve and sustain Minnesota’s infrastructure.

MnTech will sponsor, support and/or respond to legislation that furthers these principles. Additionally, it will respond to issues and potential legislation that affect member companies and technology businesses in Minnesota as they arise.

And salary…

The starting salary range for this position is $75,000 – $95,000 and will be offered to the successful candidate at a level commensurate with experience.  Salary is complemented by a full suite of benefits including health, dental, vision, life, STD and LTD insurance, paid time off and retirement plan. MnTech embraces a flexible work environment that values work productivity over place of work.

Get the full description. Good luck!

OPPORTUNITY: I’m thankful for broadband because… #MNthanks2broadband campaign

In a meeting yesterday we talked about how the holidays are a great time to recruit expats. After life in quarantine, folks are looking forward to a traditional holiday season with family and old friends. After life in quarantine, many folks are still working online, which means they might be ripe for permanent return to their hometown. So it’s time to put our best foot forward. You bake the best pumpkin pie and maybe get the Vikings to win a few games. Collectively maybe we can talk up broadband around the state with quick videos or pictures.

The idea is to create, collect and share content throughout the holidays season making the point that with great broadband, you can live anywhere – so why not here? I got the ball rolling below. It took exactly 2 minutes to do. I recorded myself on a Zoom and uploaded to YouTube. But you could also do a selfie video or have a friend record you. You could post it on YouTube and send me the link OR send me the video and I’ll post on the BlandinonBroadband channel. (Just email me and we’ll figure it out atreacy@treacyinfo.com.)

Or join us for the Special Lunch Bunch on Tuesday November 23 at noon and we can record some then. Or contact me and we can set up a time to do a Zoom video. We can share as we build!

OPPORTUNITY: $500M in Good Jobs Challenge grants could fund training and tech assistance

The US EDA explains…

EDA’s American Rescue Plan Good Jobs Challenge aims to get Americans back to work by building and strengthening systems and partnerships that bring together employers who have hiring needs with other key entities to train workers with in-demand skills that lead to good-paying jobs.

Through the Good Jobs Challenge, EDA is allocating $500 million to collaborative skills training systems and programs. EDA encourages efforts to reach historically underserved populations and areas, communities of color, women, and other groups facing labor market barriers such as persons with disabilities, disconnected youth, individuals in recovery, individuals with past criminal records, including justice impacted and reentry participants, serving trainees participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and veterans and military spouses.

A little more detail…

EDA will fund proposals within the following three phases, as applicable to regional needs:

  1. System Development Help establish and develop a regional workforce training system comprised of multiple sector partnerships

  2. Program Design Develop the skills training curriculum and materials, and secure technical expertise needed to train workers

  3. Program Implementation Implement non-construction projects needed to provide workforce training and connect workers with quality jobs, including wrap-around services

Application deadline is January 26, 2022

OPPORTUNITY: Sherburne County looking for partners to build better broadband with ARPA grants

WJON reports

Sherburne County is using some America Rescue Plan Act dollars to invest in broadband service for their residents and businesses.

The county is taking applications from service providers to share in a $1.5-million grant to expand broadband to unserved and underserved areas.

Eligible projects must be substantially completed on or before December 31st in 2024.

The effort is to bring reliable, affordable high-speed internet to more Sherburne County households and businesses.

The application can be found on Sherburne County’s website and all applications are due on December 31st this year.

Here’s a little more info on the opportunity from the grant guidelines…

The purpose of the Sherburne County Broadband Access Grant Program is to encourage and facilitate necessary investment in broadband projects designed to provide high- speed, reliable, and affordable broadband service to unserved or underserved households and businesses in Sherburne County. The County may award up to $1,500,000 in grants to service providers for eligible projects that will provide service designed to reliably meet or exceed a symmetrical 100 Mbps download and upload speeds or, where symmetrical 100 Mbps speeds are not practicable, 100 Mbps download and at least 20 Mbps upload speeds, along with other requirements set forth in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”).

The Broadband Access Grant Program will be administered through the County Administrator’s office.

OPPORTUNITY: Telecommunications Analyst job at MN Dep of Commerce

There is a job open at the MN Department of Commerce and it seems like it might be a good fit for someone – maybe a BoB reader…

Job Class: Public Utilities Rates Analyst 2, 3, or 4

Working Title: Telecommunications Analyst

  • Who May Apply: Open to all qualified job seekers
  • Date Posted: 10/19/2021
  • Closing Date: 11/01/2021
  • Hiring Agency/Seniority Unit: Commerce Dept
  • Division/Unit: Energy Resources / Telecom Regulation
  • Work Shift/Work Hours: Day Shift  (Hybrid work environment with potential for significant telework)
  • Days of Work: Monday – Friday
  • Travel Required: No
  • Salary Range: PURA 2: $24.88 – $36.53/hourly; $51,949 – $76,275/annually; PURA 3: $28.48 – $42.24/hourly; $59,466 – $88,197/annually; PURA 4: $30.59 – $45.36/hourly; $63,872 – $94,712/annually
  • Classified Status: Classified
  • Bargaining Unit/Union: MAPE
  • Connect 700 Program Eligible: Yes

Job Summary

This vacancy is being posted at 3 job classes: PURA 2 – PURA 3 – PURA 4. Final job class will be determined based on successful applicant’s qualifications.

This position performs a variety of tasks to fulfill the Department’s statutory responsibilities with respect to the telecommunications marketplace. The telecommunications unit seeks to protect consumers from abusive tactics and works to advance competition in a manner that is consistent with the public interest. The successful applicant will review new and existing telecommunications carrier petitions to determine compliance with statutory requirements and Minnesota rules. The position will investigate problems experienced by consumers, and competitors in the marketplace; draft reports for actions before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission; and enforce statutes, rules and Commission orders.

OPPORTUNITIES: Two jobs open at MN Office of Broadband Development

There are two positions open at the Office of Broadband Development:

Grants Specialist Coordinator – Broadband Grants Administrator

The Broadband Grants Administrator position exists as part 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. The incumbent will develop, promote, implement, and provide technical assistance for state and federally funded financing programs for the Office of Broadband Development. This position will support and maximize Minnesota entities’ participation in federally funded broadband infrastructure programs. This position also conducts program evaluation, reporting and administers programs including:
• Border-to-Border Infrastructure Grant Program: which provides state and federal financing for DEED approved broadband infrastructure expansion projects
• Digital literacy, broadband adoption and use programs DEED is committed to radically increasing economic impacts for individuals and businesses that face systematic barriers to growth.
This position will contribute to efforts to build a positive internal culture that makes DEED an extraordinary place to work! If you want to make an impact and help people create possibilities, come and be a part of our amazing team!

State Program Administrator – Broadband Program Assistant

The Broadband Program Assistant position exists to assist in the administration of projects and programs for the Office of Broadband Development. This includes preliminary review and evaluation of grant applications, contract processing and grant bookkeeping and reporting. The incumbent will also provide technical and organizational support of projects and task forces, as well as coordinate and manage marketing materials, communication announcements and inquiries. The position is responsible for examining, processing, and tracking invoices, expenses, and acquisitions to ensure accuracy and prompt payment using electronic and paper filing and database systems. The Broadband Program Assistant also provides technical assistance to clients and responds to client inquiries with program information.

The jobs are open until November 4. You would be working with good people and hopefully soon in a position to helping Minnesota communities get better broadband.

OPPORTUNITIES: Help Hennepin with Digital Inclusion

Lots of opportunity in Hennepin County…

Digital Inclusion Week

This week is Digital Inclusion Week. At Hennepin County, we are taking time to highlight some of the opportunities to collaborate to ensure all residents have access to the technology they need to achieve their goals.

If you have a story about the impact of technology, especially during the pandemic, use hashtags #DIW2021 and #digitalequityNOW during this week to join the conversation.

Stay tuned for more news in the coming days as local government leaders raise further awareness about this important topic.

 

Requests for Proposals

Hennepin County is seeking proposals for the following digital inclusion activities:

All RFP materials are posted in the Hennepin County Supplier Portal.

The digital divide disproportionately impacts Black, brown, and Indigenous people; seniors; and students. Organizations that serve communities of color, people with limited English proficiency, elders, and youth are encouraged to apply.

Digital Navigation RFP

This funding opportunity is available to community-based organizations to provide digital navigation and broadband adoption services.

An addendum with answers to questions received by September 30, 2021 is available in the Supplier Portal under the documents link.  You can also find the information by looking for the RFP titled “Digital Navigation.”

Key dates

  • Updated closing date for all questions: October 7, 2021
  • Application due date: October 14, 2021

 

Digital Skills Training RFP

This funding opportunity is available to businesses or organizations that can provide digital skills training that is accessible and available in multiple languages and learning formats, including web-based, phone based, and in-person training.

Key dates:

  • Closing date for all questions: October 19, 2021
  • Proposal due date: October 28, 2021

How to apply

To respond to either RFP, submit applications via the Hennepin County Supplier Portal. Providers who do not already have a Supplier Portal account first need to register with the Supplier Portal in order to submit their application.

Questions concerning either RFP should be submitted in writing via email to Ashley.Schweitzer@hennepin.us or Tina.Wong@hennepin.us.

Nomination Deadline Extended for FCC Chair’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility

Word from the FCC. Let’s try to flood the market with Minnesota folks and projects!

Last Friday, the FCC announced the extension of the nomination deadline for the 2021 FCC Chair’s Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (AAA).  Nominations are now due on Friday, October 1, 2021. 

The AAA highlights innovative practices, technologies, policies, and research that address longstanding or novel accessibility gaps in communications technologies. This year’s awards will recognize particularly notable or creative ways that technical solutions have been developed or deployed to provide accessibility to people with disabilities during the COVID-19 environment.  Additional information about the AAA and nomination procedures can be found at the original FCC Chair’s AAA Public Notice.   

For more information, please contact Deandrea Wilson (202-418-0703), Chantal Virgile (202-418-0056) or call the ASL Consumer Support Line at 1-844-432-2275 via videophone. Inquiries and nominations may also be sent to FCCAAA@fcc.gov. 

OPPORTUNITY: MuniNetworks is hiring GIS and Data Visualization Researcher

From the Institute for Local Self Reliance

ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks program seeks a GIS and Data Visualization Specialist. We are looking for candidates that have a passion for using their skills as part of a team focused on justice and equity for all. Our mission is focused on a range of digital equity challenges but this position will also offer opportunities to work on larger ILSR projects and goals.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Create informative broadband coverage maps using public and internal databases, including the infamous FCC Form 477
  • Compile statistics related to Internet access across datasets
  • Creatively develop visual resources to educate policymakers and activists on issues around Internet access
  • Support ongoing research for longer reports and projects
  • Support research for our allies and partners, often working with BIPOC communities

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Strong writing, research, and communications skills
  • Graduate-level coursework in or professional experience working with spatial datasets or mapping efforts
  • Ability to combine both spatial datasets and nonspatial datasets to create user-facing products or as intermediary steps in research projects
  • Proficiency with statistics and GIS applications, experience cleaning data
  • Background knowledge of public policy and/or economics (preferred, but not required)
  • Creative thinking – graphics, videos, audio, maps, etc.
  • Ability to work independently and juggle multiple tasks
  • Enthusiasm for policy work to improve Internet access for everyone, but an appreciation of how uneven broadband access disproportionately harms historically marginalized communities

You do not need to know much about broadband policy or telecommunications when you start. Our team is well-versed in helping colleagues rapidly learn the intricacies around broadband policy. This is not a new position – our team has had a GIS specialist for several years, and we look forward to continuing this work. Though many on the team are in Minnesota, our team is geographically diverse. This position may support other ILSR programs with data analysis and mapping and, as is common with smaller organizations, may require some time to help with administrative tasks from time to time.

FCC expands Emergency Broadband Benefit Program eligibility for another year

The FCC reports

By this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) announces that it will expand the school years that will be acceptable for eligibility determination purposes for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program).  As a result of this change, households that can demonstrate participation in the free and reduced price school lunch program or school breakfast program for the 2021-2022 school year will now be eligible for the benefit.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (CAA or Act)[1] provides that households with members who are approved to participate in the free and reduced price school lunch program or school breakfast program are eligible for the EBB Program,[2] and the Commission’s rules adopted this eligibility criteria.[3]  In the EBB Program Order, the Commission clarified that, in addition to households that apply for and are approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced price school lunch program or school breakfast program, households with students that are enrolled in schools that participate in the USDA Community Eligibility Provision will also be eligible for the EBB Program under the school lunch program or school breakfast program eligibility criteria.[4]  The Commission further agreed with commenters that proposed that the Commission allow proof of enrollment in these programs for either the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year, “given that many schools have been closed since mid-March 2020 due to the pandemic and students may not be enrolled in the programs” in the 2020-2021 school year.[5]  Based on the EBB Program Order, the EBB Program application and other EBB program guidance specifically identify the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years as eligible school years for purposes of qualifying for the EBB Program, but do not discuss any subsequent school years.

 

Are you ready for Digital Inclusion Week Oct 4-8?

There’s still time to plan so I wanted to share info from NDIA (National Digital Inclusion Alliance) on Digital Inclusion Week 2021…

Digital Inclusion Week is an annual campaign that recognizes local digital inclusion organizations and special events that promote digital equity across the country.

Please join us October 4-8, 2021 – this will be our biggest Digital Inclusion Week ever, with seasoned practitioners and newly launched programs hosting virtual and in-person events. DIW aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, and local technology training and support programs.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create or find an activity in your area that builds inclusion by providing computer training, media literacy, affordable devices, or internet access to people on the wrong side of digital divides – or builds public awareness.

  • Use the social media kit to raise awareness around the digital divide and the incredible work your community is doing to reach digital inclusion.

  • Connect with colleagues around the country to share ideas through our mailing list.

  • Use hashtags #DIW2021 and #digitalequityNOW during the week of October 4th to join the conversation and celebrate progress.

Learn more – and get resources to help!

OPPORTUNITY: Nominate a 20/20 Visionary

Public Knowledge has an opportunity…

This year marks PK’s 20th anniversary and its accomplishments over the past 20 years. In honor of this, we’ll be recognizing 20 future leaders in the tech policy field.

Do you know someone that has made a significant impact and will continue to do so in the years to come? You can nominate them at Publicknowledge.org/Visionaries. This is the last week to get in your nominees!

These 20/20 Visionaries will be selected by a panel of judges based on:

  • Potential to contribute positively to the development of tech policy in the future
  • Demonstrated impact on public interest tech policy
  • Potential to be a future leader
  • Experience at a tech policy advocacy group, think tank, or other NGO, in a local community, in government, and/or in a position in the tech-related sector that influences tech policy and access in the public interest

You can nominate anyone who is early in their tech policy career, regardless of age or previous experience. There are no cutoffs, although we anticipate nominees will have fewer than 10 years of experience.

You have a week left to nominate someone. Please go ahead and nominate them today.

OPPORTUNITY: Free Chromebooks for MN Families in Need

From Minnesota Afterschool Advance

Minnesota Afterschool Advance (MAA) is here to help your family get a device to assist your student’s education! By using both the K-12 Education Tax Credit and scholarship dollars from Youthprise, we’re committed to getting even more Minnesota families a Chromebook.

How can MAA help?

If your household income is under $33,500 in 2020 and 2021 and you file taxes, MAA can use a tool called the K-12 Education Tax Credit plus scholarship dollars from Youthprise to get you a Chromebook for no additional cost, plus save you 75% or more on afterschool and summer activities like tutoring, music lessons, and driver’s education. Learn more about how MAA works by watching a short animated video.

We are limited to one device per household due to tax credit rules.

How can I get a Chromebook?

  1. Apply to MAA

    The first step is to apply to MAA, so we can determine your eligibility.

    Since the computer hardware option is limited to one per family, you only need to submit an application for one eligible student, but you may apply for additional students if you want to use MAA to pay for afterschool and summer activities as well. We will generally review your application within a few business days.

  2. Select Your Chromebook

    Once approved, we will send you a special link to order your Chromebook and have it shipped to you.

  3. Receive Your Chromebook

    In most cases, shipping takes around one week or less depending on your location.

  4. Watch for Additional Instructions from MAA at the End of the Year

    MAA gets repaid by the State when you file your state income tax return at the end of the year. The Department of Revenue will directly repay the amount MAA advances to you from the Tax Credit dollars (these are additional dollars on top of your regular refund). To help with tax filing, MAA will provide instructions to assist you and also let you know about available free tax preparation services.

Is my student eligible?

For a limited time, we have expanded eligibility rules to qualify for a Chromebook!

Students are generally eligible if:

  • They are in grades K-12.

  • Your household income in 2020 and 2021 is under $33,500.

View detailed eligibility rules and guidelines.