The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded a combined $5.6 million in grants to Merced Community College and California State University, Sacramento, as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC).
The grants announced today are designed to provide funds to spur economic development, increase digital skills, and create digital navigator programs at the two institutions.
The CMC program has a budget of $268 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 for expanding high-speed Internet access and connectivity to eligible colleges and universities. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the U.S.
Under that law, NTIA recently launched a series of new high-speed Internet grant programs to build high-speed Internet infrastructure across the country.
CMC awards go to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the United States.
“Institutions of higher learning play an important role in expanding opportunity and economic growth in their communities, including through digital skills education,” said Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a prepared statement about the Connecting Minority Communities grants. “California is grateful for these grants to support innovative programs by Merced College and California State University, Sacramento to expand digital access and inclusion for people in their communities, bolster remote learning options for students, and more.”