Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.

Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.

Https

The site is secure.

The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

Status: Projects Underway 


 

High-speed Internet is a critical conduit for economic development and opportunities and a gateway for increased productivity, growth, and economic access. Many students, communities, and critical anchor institutions experience significant gaps in broadband access, adoption, digital skills, and equity, particularly within communities of color and vulnerable populations. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these digital inequities for students, faculty, and staff of HBCU, TCU, and MSI anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. 

Through the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program, NTIA directly addresses the lack of Internet access, connectivity, adoption, and equity at our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and in census tracts with high levels of poverty within their surrounding  anchor communities. The CMC Pilot program seeks to expand educational instruction and remote learning opportunities, spur economic development, create opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship, by building the digital capacity of the eligible institutions and furthering broadband access, adoption, and digital skills within those institutions and in their surrounding anchor communities.  Accordingly, Congress has directed NTIA to provide $268 million in grant funding to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to facilitate educational instruction and learning, including through remote instruction; and to consortia including MBEs or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations to operate that MBE or tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. 

As noted in the CMC NOFO, these universities may experience disparities in their capabilities and resources for Internet access and adoption. This may limit the extent to which the benefits of driving innovation and economic growth in the communities where these universities are located. The CMC Pilot Program bridges these gaps. Since this is a pilot program, NTIA welcomed innovative approaches to technology training, workforce development, and community engagement around broadband, broadband access, and connectivity. To further replicate and scale these programs, applicants will be expected to evaluate, track and document their program outcomes and best practices. 

Award Synopsis 


The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded more surrounding than $262 million to 93 colleges and universities as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC). 

Click here to learn more about CMC Funding Recipients 

Who Can Apply 


  • a historically Black college or university; 
  • a Tribal College or University; 
  • a Minority-serving institution; or 
  • a consortium that is led by a historically Black college or university, a Tribal College or University, or a Minority-serving institution and that also includes— 
  • a minority business enterprise; or 
  • an organization described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and exempt from tax under section 501(a) of such Code. 

Key Dates 


The Department of Commerce’s (DOC) National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) awarded more than $262 million to 93 colleges and universities on a rolling basis. NTIA made its first five awards with a start date of August 1st, 2022, and final awards starting March 1st, 2023. CMC recipients represent 36 states and territories including American Samoa, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, and Puerto Rico. CMC recipients include 43 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, 24 Hispanic Serving Institutions, 21 Minority Serving Institutions, and five Tribal Colleges and Universities, with multiple schools having dual designations. 

CMC recipient project purposes include expanding community technology hubs, upgrading classroom technology, increasing workforce development and digital literacy skills, and more. All CMC project purposes align to the purpose of the CMC program funds; to increase Internet access to communities with high levels of poverty, to hire and train information technology personnel; and to facilitate educational instruction and learning, including through remote instruction. 

As of the October 30, 2023 report period end date, CMC recipients have reported the distribution of more than 24,500 devices to students and patrons, the training of more than 15,000 individuals in workforce and digital skills, more than 35,000 faculty and staff that have received professional development, over 9,000 new broadband subscriptions, and 21 jobs filled from CMC-awarded funds.  

Eligible Uses of Funding 


Under the CMC Pilot Program regulations, grant recipients may only use federal award funds and any non-federal cost share committed to an award to pay for: 

  1. The purchase of broadband internet access service, including the installation or upgrade of broadband facilities on a one-time, capital improvement, basis to increase or expand broadband capacity and/or connectivity at the eligible institution. 
  2. The purchase or lease of eligible equipment and devices for student or patron use, subject to any restrictions and prohibited uses; and 
  3. To hire and train information technology personnel who are a part of the eligible anchor institution, MBE, or Tax-Exempt Organization. 

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) 


NTIA issued this NOFO to describe the requirements under which it will award grants for the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program, authorized by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“the Act”). The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program provides new federal funding for the Assistant Secretary to make grants for the expansion of broadband internet access, connectivity, and digital inclusion. The Act authorizes new federal funding for the Assistant Secretary to make grants to eligible recipients in anchor communities: for the purchase of broadband internet access service or any eligible equipment, or to hire and train information technology personnel; to facilitate educational instruction and learning, including through remote instruction; to operate a minority business enterprise (MBE); or to operate a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. The Act also authorizes grants to a consortium, led by an eligible recipient institution (i.e., educational institution), that includes an MBE or a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization. 

You can find full details about this program in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). 

Contacts 


Grantee Support: Grants.gov provides 24/7 support via the toll-free number 1-800-518-4726 and email at support@grants.gov. For questions related to the specific grant opportunity, contact the number listed in the application package of the grant you are applying for.  

 

Categories

Related content


Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $3 Million in an Internet for All Grant to Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico

February 09, 2023

WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today it has awarded Universidad del Sagrado Corazón a $2,978,187.00 grant from the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC).

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves announced the award at a press conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Subscribe to Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program RSS feed