Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Announces 2012 Digital Divide Grant

Please note that the deadline for submitting an application for the 2012-13 grant cycle has passed. Recipients are expected to be announced in June.

Residents of eligible Illinois communities can receive access to high-speed Internet, technology training and more as part of the 2012 Eliminate the Digital Divide Grant, sponsored by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). 

Eligible organizations have until March 16 to apply for a grant of up to $75,000. The average award amount in 2011 was approximately $40,000. The goal of the program is to offer public access to the Internet, help residents learn the basics and keep up-to-date with advances in technology.   The state has allotted $4 million in funding for areas in which at least 40 percent of the students are eligible for a free or reduced price lunch under the national school lunch program; or at least 30 percent of the students are eligible for a free lunch under the national school lunch program  

“The Eliminate the Digital Divide grant will provide residents in underserved communities throughout Illinois the opportunity become better educated, apply for jobs online and improve their lives in countless ways,” said Drew Clark, executive director of Partnership for a Connected Illinois, also known by its Broadband Illinois website.   

The grant will help to ensure that residents throughout the state have equitable access to technology by helping provide equipment, training and staff for a Community Technology Center (CTC). Examples of CTC’s include everything from public hospitals and libraries to park districts, community colleges and senior centers.  To be eligible for the grant funds, a CTC must provide computer access and education services for at least 12 hours each week. Grant funding may also be used to provide instruction on career development and adult education.

There is no matching requirement for the Eliminate the Digital Divide grant.  To see detailed grant instructions, requirements, and to download an application, visit DCEO’s Digital Divide website at http://www.commerce.state.il.us/dceo/Bureaus/Technology/Technology+Grants+Programs/4-Eliminate+the+Digital+Divide.htm. Click on "School Lunch Statistics" to see if your organization is in an eligible school district area. 

To learn more about the Digital Divide contact Roxana Ryan, Communications Specialist, at roxana.ryan@broadbandillinois.org or call 217-690-8006. 

Tags: DCEO, Digital Divide, grant, Grant applications

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