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The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced has awarded five more grants, totaling more than $18.5 million, as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC). 

These grants will provide funds designed to expand community technology hubs, upgrade classroom technology, and increase digital literacy skills at five minority-serving institutions in California, Missouri, Louisiana and Alabama. 

The following institutions will benefit from the awards: California State University, Dominguez Hills (CA); California State University, Fresno (CA); Lincoln University of Missouri (MO); the University of West Alabama (AL); and Southern University and A&M College (LA).

The CMC program directs $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges or Universities (TCUs), and Minority-serving institutions (MSIs). 

The first CMC grants were awarded in July. The program, administered by NTIA’s Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives, cover costs such as the purchase of high-speed Internet service and eligible equipment, the hiring and training of information technology personnel, and innovation and workforce development efforts.  

Additional CMC program awards are to be announced on a rolling basis, with another $268 million to be distributed.

“Minority-serving institutions are driving digital skills education and workforce development programs for communities across the country, and that’s why they need resources,” Kevin Hughes, acting director of the Office of Minority Broadband Initiatives, said in a prepared statement about the Connecting Minority Communities grants. “This program provides the skills, devices, and connectivity for these colleges and universities that will improve their students’ lives and create jobs in local communities.”  

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