AFBF Joins New Community-Based Effort to Improve Broadband Connectivity

News / FBNews April 27, 2021

Credit: USDA / CC0 

As a partner in the newly launched American Connection Corps, the American Farm Bureau Federation joins 19 other organizations to provide direct support to communities to unlock opportunities around internet connectivity and close the digital divide.

“The American Farm Bureau is excited to serve as a partner in this program that empowers young people to return to their rural communities to help bridge the digital divide,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Broadband is essential to strengthening our rural economies and helping agriculture achieve bold sustainability goals. We have seen great strides in initiatives and investments over the years, and now it’s time to make those connections at the local level.”

The American Connection Corps will be led in conjunction with Lead for America. The program will place 50 fellows focused on connectivity in local public-serving institutions in their hometowns. The inaugural class of fellows will be deployed to urban and rural towns in Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Kansas and Oregon.

During their two years as American Connection Corps fellows, they will work to increase digital access and inclusion in their communities by coordinating with local partners to tap into federal and state resources for broadband access or delivering digital literacy to marginalized members of the community. In addition, fellows will receive training from higher education institutions in their region on technical assistance, research and innovation.

Fellows will also connect young people in the community with newly identified opportunities, mentoring them in starting businesses, nonprofits and community groups that address local needs with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Applications open today for a two-year, full-time paid fellowship.

The American Connection Corps is spearheaded by the American Connection Project, of which AFBF is also a founding partner. The American Connection Project Broadband Coalition, led by Land O’Lakes Inc., represents companies and organizations involved in agriculture, energy, financial services, health care, education and technology. The group is strongly advocating for robust federal investment in broadband internet connectivity.

Joining AFBF as partners in the American Connection Corps are: Land O’Lakes Inc., Heartland Forward, CoBank, Tractor Supply Company, Microsoft, Mayo Clinic, Ariel Investments, Scoular, CHS, Zoetis, Tillamook, Accenture, University of Minnesota, Midwest Dairy, Purdue University, Partners for Education, CentraCare, Common Sense Media and University of Illinois Extension.

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