WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today it has awarded five grants as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC). These grants, totaling $10,642,577.03, will expand community technology hubs, upgrade classroom technology, and increase digital literacy skills at five minority-serving institutions in California, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the Marshall Islands.
These awards will help expand high-speed Internet access at the following educational institutions: Mount Saint Mary's University (CA), New Mexico Highlands University, North Carolina Central University, Eastern University (PA), and the College of the Marshall Islands. More information about these grants is provided in the table below and on InternetForAll.Gov.
The CMC program is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative that will connect everyone in America with affordable, reliable high-speed Internet service. This program specifically directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
“Minority-serving institutions are key drivers of digital skills education and workforce development programs for communities across the country. They need robust connectivity and resources to continue to provide support,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This program will build digital capacity for colleges and universities that will deliver benefits to their students and fuel job creation and economic growth in their communities.”
The CMC grants, directed by NTIA’s Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives, cover costs such as the purchase of high-speed Internet service and eligible equipment, the hiring and training of information technology personnel, and innovation and workforce development efforts.
Additional CMC program awards will be announced on a rolling basis. The final allocation of the $268 million in grant funds will satisfy the requirements that at least 40% of funds are distributed to qualifying HBCUs and at least 20% is distributed to applicants that provide high-speed Internet access service and/or eligible equipment to their students.
Internet for All
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand high-speed Internet in communities across the U.S. NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs funded by the law that will build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed Internet service options, and address the digital equity and inclusion needs in our communities.
For more information on the Biden-Harris Administration’s high-speed Internet programs as well as quotes from the awardees, please visit InternetforAll.gov.
|Applicant||Location||Funding Amount||Brief Description|
|College of the Marshall Islands||Majuro, Marshall Islands||$1,794,628.00||The CMI Broadband Access for Remote Learning Opportunities and Training Program (BARLO) aims to ensure all eligible students and learning centers have access to broadband Internet access to contribute to the improvement of standard of living by providing higher education to remote communities. Its purpose is to strengthen the College’s IT technical and human capacity to help provide better broadband education and training, access, and technical support services. Further, it intends to provide subsidized broadband access to low-income and in-need students. The project will contribute to the stimulation and adoption of the use of broadband services for remote learning, telework, and entrepreneurship to help stimulate employment opportunities and sustainable economic development.|
|Eastern University||St. Davids, Pennsylvania||$2,031,405.13||Eastern University's Hope Digital Literacy project will leverage educational, institutional, and relational assets in the area and deepen neighborhood level trust to forge a digital opportunity community in the heart of North Philadelphia by resourcing, educating, equipping, and empowering Latinos and other low-income individuals to utilize digital tools to accomplish practical workforce, education, and health-related goals.|
|Mount Saint Mary's University||Los Angeles, California||$747,019.00||Mount Saint Mary’s University (MSMU)'s "Improving Access and Connection for Next Generation Women Leaders: MSMU's Technology Lending and Development Program" aims to provide more students with access to digital devices and increase their confidence with digital literacy, which has been a major challenge for many students due to the pandemic.|
|New Mexico Highlands University||Las Vegas, New Mexico||$2,988,682.27||New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU)'s "Building Sustainable Technology and Equity Connected Communities through Youth and Adult Workforce Development: the Acequia and Land Grant Education" (ALGE) Project will use digital technology to deliver a culturally responsive curriculum to underserved populations in Northern New Mexico (NMM), and culturally sustaining pedagogy to teachers of students in underserved populations.|
|North Carolina Central University||Durham, North Carolina||$2,996,134.00||North Carolina Central University's (NCCU) Digital Equity Leadership Program (DELP) aims to directly address the lack of broadband access, connectivity, adoption, and equity at the University and surrounding anchor communities. NCCU will develop innovative ways to help residents in the anchor communities who may lack the digital literacy skills needed to seek, obtain, and retain employment, as well as to perform other tasks in daily life.|