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Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $33.5 Million in Internet for All Grants to 12 Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities


January 30, 2023

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NTIA, Office of Public Affairs

WASHINGTON – The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today it has awarded 12 grants as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC).

Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson announced the awards at Coppin State University (MD), one of the Connecting Minority Communities program’s awardees. They were joined by Governor Wes Moore, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Representative Kweisi Mfume, and Coppin State University President Anthony Jenkins.

“High-speed Internet service is going to create opportunities, increase productivity, and improve lives, particularly in communities that have too often been left behind.” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Graves. “At the Commerce Department, we’re committed to seeing investments from initiatives like the Connecting Minority Communities program create opportunities for good jobs supported by equitable hiring, fair compensation, safe workplaces, and the tools and training needed for long-term success.”

“The Internet is essential for access to work, to education, to healthcare, and to justice,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson. “Our Connecting Minority Communities program is about equipping students and the surrounding communities with the skills, the devices, and the capacity needed to reap the full benefits of our digital economy.”

A diverse group of stakeholders have offered their support for these grants. Visit InternetForAll.Gov to read their statements.

These grants, totaling more than $33.5 million, will expand community technology hubs, upgrade classroom technology, and increase digital literacy skills at 12 minority serving colleges and universities in 10 states.

The Connecting Minority Communities 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), and Minority-serving institutions (MSIs).


Applicant  Location Funding Amount Project Description
H. Councill Trenholm State Community College  AL  $2,066,454.00 H. Trenholm State Community College (Trenholm)'s “Connecting Montgomery:  Bridging the Digital Divide - Closing the Opportunity Gap” project aims to strengthen Trenholm’s ability to serve its students and improve digital equity for thousands of others in its anchor community. The project activities include:  
  1. Add a second Internet service provider to increase Trenholm’s broadband capacity and speed. 
  2. Gain access to virtual desktop infrastructure to provide students free, remote access to software currently only available in on-campus computer labs. 
  3. Provide training and certification exams to up-skill existing college IT staff.  
  4. Fund the services of a credentialed network engineer. 
  5. Recruit and train new entrants to the area’s IT workforce by providing scholarships for students who pursue a certificate or degree in networking, cybersecurity, or another IT-related major.
  6. Support a complete technology renovation of the Mercy House education center to include internal wiring, computers, monitors, and more. 
University of Arizona  AZ  $3,051,875.00 The University of Arizona's “Connect Arizona Now: Digital Inclusion for Underserved Students and Communities of Southern Arizona” (Project CAN) project aims to address the need for broadband Internet access, connectivity, and digital inclusion in the highly diverse, often rural, communities of Southern Arizona. The project activities include:  
  1. Creating “equipment bundles” that can be checked out by students from UArizona Libraries.  The equipment bundles will include hotspots, laptops, headphones, and webcams. 
  2. Expanding UArizona network and classroom technologies. 
  3. Providing support personnel at education sites in rural AZ.  
  4. Provide broadband Internet access and equipment and help to facilitate educational opportunities and resources for project subrecipients Dunbar Pavilion and the Tucson Urban League, as well as the surrounding community. 
Loma Linda University  CA  $3,323,214.00 Loma Linda University’s “Connecting Minority Communities Pilot” program aims to make healthcare education more accessible to students whose location, access to transportation, family life, or work circumstance preclude them from coming to campus on a scheduled basis. The project activities include:  
  1. LLU will provide grants for laptops and provide more mobile hotspots for students, as well as fund wireless routers and broadband services.
  2. Upgrade wireless access points; convert courses not currently offered online and update current on-line courses to meet nationally recognized online standards.  
  3. Upgrade classrooms with cameras, microphones, speakers, and associated software to enable hybrid learning and enable remote learners to have an equivalent experience as in-person learners. 
  4. Establish Virtual Computer Labs. 
  5. LLU will pilot a new “Inclusive Teaching and Learning” initiative to train and empower instructors to draw on principles of inclusive teaching to help students feel a sense of belonging, ensure they can access course materials, and support them in achieving learning goals. 
Broward College  FL  $2,999,996.77 Broward College (BC)'s “Connecting Broward-UP Communities (CBC)” project aims to promote broadband adoption, access, and capacity at BC and ensure all residents in the targeted anchor communities have access to broadband service.  
The “Broward UP Communities Project” will: 
  1. Identify areas within Broward and the anchor communities that lack the availability of broadband Internet services. 
  2. Develop a website/app to provide residents with information on broadband access. 
  3. Establish a Tech Squad of qualified technicians and staff to implement the project. 
  4. Expand broadband networking capacity and digital technology for remote education and distance learning.  
  5. Develop an agreement with a broadband Internet provider for bulk purchase of services for residents. 
  6. Expand access points within the anchor communities, including leveraging BC’s mobile application unit, to ensure access to broadband access and technology equipment and devices (laptops, computers, tablets, distance learning equipment, wiring, and hotspots). 
  7. Develop and provide digital training and workforce education.  
  8. Expand capacity of the IT department. 
  9. Evaluate and collect data to document best practices for a replicable and sustainable program.  
St. Augustine College  IL  $2,682,359.00 St. Augustine College (SAC)'s “Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program” aims to address digital inequities through investments in infrastructure, affordable broadband connections and devices, and digital literacy training.  The project activities include 
  1. Providing free basic Internet access to low-income minorities and nontraditional populations in target anchor communities.  
  2. Designing and delivering linguistically, culturally, and age-appropriate digital literacy services. 
  3. Enabling every St. Augustine College student household to access a remote learning device for two years. 
Dominican University  IL  $2,582,917.00 The Dominican University "Connecting Minds & Technology: Enhancing Cross-Campus Digital Literacy with Hands-on Initiatives" CMT) project will enable DU to bring its broadband and IT capacity up to a robust level, expand institutional capacity for broadband and advanced technology education, and build digital skills and IT workforce capacity through enhanced professional development, technology training, and student workforce programs. The project activities include:  
  1. Replace network and server equipment. 
  2. Upgrade computer terminals and other classroom technology.  
  3. Provide direct IT career preparation activities through a Student Technology Corps. 
  4. Distribute hotspots. 
Simmons College of Kentucky, Inc.  KY  $2,762,100.00 The Simmons College of Kentucky “Building a Digital Teaching and Learning Center for Louisville's HBCU” project aims to build a digital teaching and learning center that will be a hub for providing comprehensive digital training and technology resources for Simmons’ students and faculty. The project activities include:  
  1. Develop and implement a 5-year strategic plan for the digital teaching and learning center. 
  2. Establish a center on campus where students and faculty will come to acquire hardware, mobile hotspots, training, and in-person help with digital learning and technology, and remote access support. 
  3. Enable students to earn Microsoft badges and demonstrate data analytics competency to prepare them for the world of work. 
  4. Plan and provide faculty professional development courses and training to ensure distance learning faculty are proficient in using digital program technologies, applying standards, and developing a class community supportive environment. 
  5. Establish a holistic student support services helpdesk for online and partially online students.  
  6. In the anchor community, Simmons will implement an outreach service program whereby student interns can help the elderly access digital resources.  
  7. Provide instructional design services to integrate computer skills and data analytics into all areas of its curriculum, and provide technology planning, guidance, and improved broadband support.  
Coppin State University  MD  $3,990,880.00 The Coppin State University “Connect Eagle Nation” project is a collaborative pilot program designed to close the digital gap in Baltimore, Maryland. The project activities include:  
  1. Purchase and distribute laptops to targeted community recipients.  
  2. Create a curriculum for the new Cyber Apprenticeship Program resulting in industry certification.  
  3. Launch a new Digital Navigator program that will assist community members in affordable Internet adoption, device acquisition, technical skills, application support and the use of computing devices. 
  4. Launch a collaboration between the Coppin School of Nursing and Baltimore County to provide health and technology assessment in Baltimore County/City with the help of Digital Navigators.  
  5. Launch a planning and capacity building committee that will map services to analyze community readiness and needs for broadband.  
Elizabeth City State University  NC $2,131,383.00 The Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) “Strengthening Broadband Capacity to Amplify Educational Opportunities and Foster Digital Inclusion in Rural and Underserved Communities” project aims to bridge the digital divide and amplify educational opportunities and workforce development to ensure that university students and residents of the surrounding anchor communities have access to the opportunity to compete in today's workforce. It also aims to expand ECSU’s capacity to support both on-campus and remote learners. The project activities include:  
  1. Expand the current network to bring connectivity to outdoor spaces and areas used within the proximity of the campus to deliver instruction. 
  2. Integrate advanced simulation tools supported through high-speed broadband connectivity to expose students to industry needed technical skills in the curriculum. 
  3. Provide broadband access and computing devices to students pursuing field experiences and online courses. 
  4. Increase digital skills and STEM knowledge through specialized K-12 programs. 
  5. Develop new or redesign existing STEM outreach programs. 
  6. Conduct IT professional development for faculty, students, staff, and interested individuals 
Saint Augustine's University  NC $1,943,715.00 Saint Augustine’s University (SAU)'s “University Broadband Upgrade and Digital Equity Initiative” project aims to increase Internet bandwidth capacity and connectivity at SAU and build digital literacy skills to promote digital equity within the SAU campus and anchor communities. The project activities include:  
  1. Upgrade existing broadband facilities and resources to increase Internet bandwidth capacity and create a digital navigator program. Digital navigators will assist community members in Internet adoption and the use of computing devices.  
  2. In a partnership with an IT MBE, a Cybersecurity Program will be established to maintain a critically needed cybersecurity program, ward against cyber-attacks and data breaches and improve stewardship of SAU’s digital assets (e.g., student records, financial information, human subject research).  
  3. SAU will transform traditional classrooms into smart classroom environments.
Central State University  OH $3,000,000.00 Central State University (CSU)'s “Connections: Central State's Student and Communities Project” (CCC) aims to increase the institution’s technology infrastructure and enhance its ability to serve students and the anchor community in the Miami Valley region. The project activities include:  
  1. Work with selected community organizations within the Miami Valley region committed to increasing online education and telehealth services, along with workforce and digital skills development.  
  2. Upgrade the university infrastructure.  
  3. Recruit and hire IT support staff. 
  4. Upgrade remote learning classrooms.  
  5. Increase student broadband access by purchasing laptops with broadband connectivity. 
  6. Increase community broadband access through laptop distribution, access to software. 
  7. Provide IT support for the devices.  
  8. Provide digital-skills training. 
  9. Provide remote learning opportunities for high school students.
Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)  PA $2,998,303.86 Lincoln University’s “Build and Continually Enhance Digital Capacity for Desired and Sustained Outcomes” Project has two main goals: (1) build and enhance an effective broadband and IT capacity; and (2) provide broadband education, awareness, training, access, equipment, and support for students and other university stakeholders. The project activities include:  
  1. Upgrade the broadband and IT capacity at on campus to provide high-speed connectivity in critical areas of the campus.  
  2. Create a teaching and learning academy to promote a new and innovative digital education campus culture with pragmatic and state-of-the-art professional developmental opportunities for Lincoln University’s faculty, staff, and students.