School district awarded 300K to help close the digital divide

Across North Carolina, 63 community service, nonprofit, higher education, and regional organizations will receive $30 million in Digital Champion grants to help North Carolinians access and use high-speed internet. The grant program, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, will expand digital equity programming and advance digital inclusion and opportunity.

Moore County Schools was awarded $300,000 to provide low-income, non-native speakers, and rural residents with devices and affordable internet access and to train parents/guardians to use digital platforms effectively to monitor student progress and support their learning.

Sandhill Regional Library System, which includes Moore County, received $500,000 to upfit public technology infrastructure, establish a portable computer lab, enhance digital literacy by providing access to STEAM computers and software for public use, and create and implement an expansive digital literacy education program.

“All North Carolinians need the resources and skills to safely and effectively use high-speed internet and benefit from the opportunities it offers,” said Governor Cooper. “Digital Champion grants will help more families take part in our increasingly digital world to work, learn, access vital telehealth services and connect with others online.”

Digital Champion grants are also being awarded to the following organizations by the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy:

Appalachian Regional Library: $402,655.75

Asheville Medical Research and Education Corporation: $500,000

Beaufort County Community College: $800,000

Caldwell County Schools: $402,972

Camino Community Development Corporation: $600,000

Catawba County Library System: $300,000

Caterpillar Ministries: $100,000

Center for Digital Equity: $1,000,000

Central Pines Regional Council: $800,000

City of Raleigh Municipal Government: $300,000

City Startup Labs Inc.: $400,000

College of The Albemarle: $700,000

Durham Technical Community College: $400,000

E2D: $1,500,000

El Centro Hispano Inc.: $600,000

ESG Foundation: $200,000

Fontana Regional Library: $300,000

Franklin County Library System: $387,006.72

Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina Inc.: $500,000

Granville County Schools: $400,000

Haywood Community College: $399,371.76

High Country Council of Governments: $800,000

Hispanic Federation Inc.: $600,000

Hola Carolina: $600,000

HUBZone Technology Initiative – HTI: $600,000

Kinston Teens Inc.: $396,129.61

Kramden Institute: $1,500,000

Land of Sky Regional Council: $689,960.61

Lions Services Inc.: $367,373.05

Lumbee Land Development Inc.: $400,000

Lumber River Council of Governments: $800,000

Madison-Mayodan Recreation Commission: $300,000

MANNA FoodBank: $440,364.85

Nash County: $58,665

N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University: $300,000

N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence: $300,000

N.C. Telehealth Network Association: $400,000

New Arrivals Institute Inc: $1,000,000

Operation Gateway: $463,325

Opportunities Industrialization Center Inc.: $500,000

Orange County Library: $83,821

Orange County Literacy Council Inc: $86,756.50

OurJourney: $400,000

Peletah Ministries: $459,127.76

Piedmont Triad Regional Council: $800,000

Pitt County Health Department: $398,608.90

Randolph County Cooperative Extension: $47,790

Richmond County Schools: $400,000

Shackle Free Community Outreach Agency Inc.: $600,000

South Piedmont Community College Foundation: $500,000

Southern Conference United Church of Christ: $200,000

Southern Vision Alliance: $200,000

Southwestern North Carolina Planning and Economic Development Commission: $568,606.56

Stanly County: $200,000

TechWorks Gaston: $300,000

The Caraway Foundation: $200,000

Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments: $1,000,000

Wake County Library System: $398,700

Washington County: $44,639.33

Western Piedmont Council of Governments: $473,000

WinstonNet Inc.: $399,713.39 

“We were thrilled to receive so many great applications from organizations across the state that want to help more North Carolinians take advantage of digital opportunities,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. “With firsthand knowledge of their communities’ needs, these grantees will help us build digital equity so everyone in the state can take part in the modern digital economy.”

Program grantees will partner with the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Office of Digital Equity and Literacy to help people from target populations identified in the Digital Equity Act, including low-income households; rural residents; aging residents; incarcerated or justice involved people; veterans; individuals with disabilities; individuals with a language barrier; and individuals who are members of a racial or ethnic minority group.

All projects will develop or expand digital equity programming and address at least one of the following elements of digital inclusion:

Affordability of reliable high-speed internet

Provision of internet-enabled devices (computer, laptops, etc.) that meet users’ needs

Access to digital literacy and skills training 

Quality technical support

Applications and online content designed to increase accessibility and inclusivity

The Digital Champion grants are part of Governor Cooper’s plan to close the digital divide by expanding access to high-speed internet and addressing issues of affordability and digital literacy. For more information, please visit ncbroadband.gov.

Contributed.

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