Dale W. Hammond and Lyndon Perry are students at Gonzaga University. They spoke with us a few weeks ago about our Minnesota Intelligent Rural Communities (MIRC) program initiatives. They were taking a higher level look at what MIRC partners might be able to do to enhance the benefits of the MIRC projects and recently shared their report with us.
The students knew about a program in the UK where folks in rural areas were offered computer and Internet training and were comparing MIRC to that UK efforts. The good news is that the programs shared many successful traits – but the students were able to pull one difference from the UK program that might help us make the most of our efforts here.
They talked about adding to the MIRC initiative a concerted effort develop local advocates through a Hometown Advocate Program (HAP). The idea is to find HAP candidates who are broadband users and work well with groups, to encourage them to become local champions, provide them with tools they need and reward them. The local trainer becomes part of the local capacity that does not go away when the grant funding ends. So it’s an effective way to build lasting capacity.
Interestingly enough we already have one such plan in place with our Website Development Series starting this week. We have classes scheduled for Wednesday (8:30-10:30) at Dawson High School and (6:00-8:00 pm) in the Computer Commuter in the parking lot of Dawson City Hall. It’s a perfect class for anyone who likes to write, likes computer and is looking for a change in career. Call for more information 320-598-7976