The Department of Employment and Economic Development has developed Digital Inclusion curriculum that is available online. The curriculum targets very new computer users and is available to anyone. It’s one project available to Dakota County to help bridge the digital divide – especially with the far end of the divide.
DEED is a project partner in the Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities initiative. MIRC is a coalition of 19 statewide partners and 11 demonstration communities funded in large part through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant. The work of the coalition focuses on bringing the full promise of broadband technologies to rural Minnesota communities, businesses and people. Blandin Foundation serves as the project administrator.
Lakeville North High School has a program called Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), an elective class designed to put kids on a track toward not only getting into college but staying there and excelling. It’s a class designed not for the accelerated students or the students who are falling behind – but for the kids in the middle who seem to get less attention from similar programs. The program is currently available in Lakeville North and Lakeville South high schools and the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage school district.
One of the key components of AVID is an emphasis on organization as a means for academic success, Wells [Stacy Wells, the Integration and Equity Coordinator for Lakeville Public Schools] said. The students keep a large binder that holds all their assignments.
Tera McKenney is one of the AVID students to benefit from this.
“It has helped me to be more organized,” McKenney said. “Before I would lose assignments.”
An extension of this is time management, Wells said.
Another component of the class is a community service requirement. Wells said that if the students do not come from families accustomed to doing community service, AVID can help them navigate how to get involved.
In addition, students must turn into [teacher Amy] Goldsworthy regular grade reports.
“We hold them accountable academically, socially and behaviorally,” Goldsworthy said.
That enhanced accountability includes academic rigor that produces results.
Wells said that AVID students get into honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses at a high rate. Goldsworthy said four of her students are at the top of their honors biology class.
This is a great opportunity from Dakota Future members Inver Hills Community College and Xcel Energy. Please pass it on. Entrepreneurship can be a great way to break out of unemployment or a dead end job and training can help get great ideas off the ground. It’s a win-win proposition.
We encourage anyone eligible to consider the classes.
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS – A $10,000 grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation is subsidizing the cost of seven classes offered at Inver Hills Community College this spring to get adults on track to starting their own small business.
The courses are targeted to adults age 55 and older who are unemployed or underemployed and don’t have a lot of money to invest in an entrepreneurial venture. Courses start as early as March 8 and range from no cost to $35 per attendee per class.
Courses include: Over 50 and Now What?, Profit and Cash, How to Write a Business Plan, Advertising and Marketing Your Small Business, Becoming a Consultant, Introduction to Internet Marketing, and ProWrite — Professional Writing Certificate Program.
The Inver Hills Academy for Lifelong Learning partnered with several community organizations in the south metro to determine need for such courses. Enrollment is limited.
To register, call (651) 450-3578, e-mail email@example.com or visit the Center for Professional and Workforce Development in room 287 of the College Center building on the Inver Hills campus.
Dakota Future has recognized the critical nature of the digital inclusion challenge. In our broadband policy, we state “Broadband access should be affordable and competitively priced when compared to our global competitors. For those who cannot afford home broadband and the necessary computer, public access should be made available at schools, libraries, senior and community centers, and affordable housing developments.”
Dakota County has changing demographics. As a county, we are getting older, more diverse and have higher levels of poverty. Strong action around digital inclusion will be required to ensure that all residents and workers will be able to fully participate in community life. This includes equal access to health care, education and government. It also includes the ability to find employment – finding opportunities, applying for jobs, working from home, starting a business.
Digital access is a critical component of the Dakota County Library System. In its current technology plan expresses this vision – “The people of Dakota County, in and through their Dakota County Library, will have convenient access to library resources through proven technology and telecommunications. Customers will be assisted as needed by a sufficient number of knowledgeable, trained staff who can help them make the best use of both new and traditional information resources”
Digital inclusion also pertains to the business community. From simple DSL to Gb fiber connections, our business community needs price competitive, business class service to compete in the global marketplace. With so many small and home businesses and employees needing 7×24 connectivity, the distinction between home and business connections fade.