July 26, 2022 / Modified jul 26, 2022 8:32 a.m.

Tohono O'odham Community College to receive federal grant for Internet access

The U.S. Department of Commerce awards nearly two million dollars

Tohono O'odham Community College Water tower at the Tohono O'odham Community College
Emma Gibson / AZPM

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Tohono O'odham Community College nearly two million dollars as part of the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program - or CMC. The money is targeted to fund internet access, equipment, and to hire and train information technology personnel.

“America’s minority serving college and universities are bedrock learning centers that have too often been left behind when it comes to accessing affordable high-speed internet,” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves. “The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program enables these institutions to be a resource for access, digital skills training, and workforce development programs for students and the community to help level the economic playing field.”

Tohono O'odham Community College is one of five minority-serving colleges and universities receiving funds from the grant in this round.

The college will use the grant to address lack of high-speed internet access, connectivity, and increase technological equity both at the college and in the surrounding communities on Tohono O’odham Nation

The CMC program is part of President Biden’s Internet-for-All initiative – part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by congress and signed into law last November. N-T-I-A - as the law is known - has launched a series of new high-speed internet grant programs designed to build high-speed internet infrastructure across the country, create more low-cost high-speed internet service options, and address digital equity in underserved communities.

“Internet access and education are two of the greatest equalizers for underserved and at-risk communities. The Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program funding will help close the digital divide and further connect the Tohono O’odham Nation,” said Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva. “I’m proud to support the rollout and funding of broadband internet services which will enhance computer literacy and promote digital economic development for Southern Arizona communities.”

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