Georgia’s Albany State University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), has received nearly $3 million in funding from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The funding is part of the Connecting Minority Communities (CMC) Pilot Program. The CMC grants will be used to deliver Internet access, purchase equipment, and to hire and train information technology personnel.
“Historically Black Colleges or Universities serve as essential anchor institutions that provide digital skills education and workforce development programs for communities across the country,” said Commerce Sec. Gina Raimondo. “This Connecting Minority Communities grant will help provide resources and expand access to remote learning. This will build Albany State University’s digital capacity and fuel job creation and economic growth throughout their surrounding community”
NTIA said in a press release that Albany State University will use the grant to expand access to remote learning by expanding broadband internet access, connectivity, and promoting digital inclusion in the community.
“We are honored to be awarded the grant for the Connecting Minority Communities Program. This grant will address the growing demand of support needed for broadband connectivity in the Albany community while establishing a foundation for future distance learning at Albany State University,” said Marion Ross Frederick, president of Albany State University. “The program aligns with our strategic plan that addresses opportunities for community partnership, ensures student access and success and creates the environment where both the community and our students can thrive.”
The broader CMC program has awarded roughly $27 million across 12 educational institutions, including HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Minority-Serving Institutions across the United States. The CMC program is part of the Biden administration’s Internet for All initiative and it allocates $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 towards expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible colleges and universities.
In a press release, Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., who represents Albany State University, praised the funding. “Broadband access is crucial to so many aspects of our everyday lives. The pandemic highlighted how important it is in order to keep our teachers and students connected, as well as how crucial it is to our economy,” said Rep Bishop. “Albany State University is an educational cornerstone in Southwest Georgia. It can use this Federal grant to improve its broadband infrastructure which will help ASU train the next generation of entrepreneurs and workers as well as serve as an informational hub connecting local officials, our regional industry sectors, and the community organizations that serve our residents.”