The Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission (UMVRDC) was recently designated as a Digital Connection Committee by the DEED Office of Broadband Development and is partnering with them as they develop the statewide digital equity plan to understand what the real digital inclusion needs and goals are in Minnesota. Digital Connection Committees serve as key partners in ensuring the plan reflects the goals and needs of all Minnesotans, especially underserved populations such as:
- People from low-income households
- People aged 60 or older
- People who are incarcerated
- People with disabilities
- People learning to speak or read English
- Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
- People living in rural communities
This plan is important because it will determine how the state invests future funding in digital inclusion activities and we want to ensure that our region is represented!
To assist in the development of the state’s digital equity plan, the UMVRDC is collecting input and information in three ways. We are:
- Conducting a focus group discussion on June 6;
- Collecting information on issues with technology access/use at home, barriers to broadband access, and using technology through a regional public survey; and,
- Taking an inventory of the available technology assets/services in our region as well as identifying any gaps/needs in those areas through a targeted survey.
What is digital inclusion? It includes internet service access/affordability, device access, and digital skills. These three facets work together to build a “digitally equitable” Minnesota in which all Minnesotans have the option and opportunity to adopt and use technology in ways that bring meaning to their daily lives.
What’s been done so far? Thus far, we have invited groups and organizations that represent or serve the aforementioned underserved populations in our region to a focus group discussion on June 6. We are now sending out the public survey and invite you to complete it as well as share it with your networks, post on your social media and help us get it out to as many as we can. Paper copies can also be obtained by contacting Kevin Ketelsen of the UMVRDC at the number below. The survey will be open through June 23.Take Survey