ECSU Awarded $2.1 Million from National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) has been awarded $2.1 million by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to strengthen and expand high-speed internet access for the campus and surrounding counties in northeastern North Carolina. The grant aims to close the digital divide that challenges internet connectivity in rural and underserved Tier 1 and Tier 2 communities.
Led by ECSU, the two-year pilot program—Connecting Minority Communities (CMC)—is a partnership with the Elizabeth City State University Foundation Inc., Albemarle Commission/ Albemarle Development Corporation and Northeastern Academy of Aerospace and Advanced Technology (NEAAAT). The CMC project will increase connectivity for ECSU students and a growing adult learner population, while providing a critical resource for socioeconomic mobility to residents locally and regionally. According to the North Carolina Department of Information Technology (NCDIT), an estimated 1.1 million North Carolina households lack access to high-speed internet access, cannot afford it or do not have the skills needed to take advantage of the digital economy. As a higher education leader in northeastern North Carolina, ECSU seeks to be a digital leader and provide broadband essential infrastructure to help anchor community residents.
The grant has three goals:
· Goal 1: Expand ECSU’s network infrastructure and capacity to support both on-campus and remote learners;
· Goal 2: Extend broadband connectivity to support K-12 STEM programs, and workforce training programs, and
· Goal 3: Improve broadband literacy and awareness within the anchor communities.
“Elizabeth City State University is an engaged community partner in northeastern North Carolina with a legacy of transforming lives, strengthening our communities and contributing to the growth of the region and state,” says Dr. Karrie G. Dixon, ECSU Chancellor. “ECSU is grateful to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration for investing more than $2 million in an initiative that will significantly enhance the university’s technology infrastructure.” Dixon states, “Additionally, ECSU will partner with local government, foundation and educational entities to directly and positively impact children and families in under-represented and underserved populations. By providing access to high-speed broadband internet, we are closing the gap and opening a gateway of opportunities that will build more socially and economically equitable communities.”
Dr. Farrah J. Ward, ECSU Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs, notes, “The Connecting Minority Communities project will have a significant affect for ECSU and our neighbors in fueling our collective ability to increase innovation locally and statewide. I would like to thank Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the School of Aviation, Health and Technology and Principal Investigator and the collaboration with ECSU’s University Advancement, for spearheading this grant. CMC represents one of ECSU’s largest interdisciplinary, campus-wide initiatives to date.” “The CMC project will fuel connectivity for ECSU and our partners, most especially, the individuals we serve,” states Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the School of Aviation, Health and Technology and Principal Investigator. “High-speed broadband has the ability to bring transformational change to our communities.”
The news release from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration can be found here: Biden-Harris Administration Announces More Than $33.5 Million in Internet for All Grants to 12 Minority-Serving Colleges and Universities | Internet for All.
Leave a Reply