The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

Local News

October 14, 2013

Grant funds available to promote economic development

MORGANTOWN — The West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey (WVGES) will be accepting applications for approximately $745,000 in Broadband Technical Assistance Grant funds, subject to the availability of funding. The funds will support broadband use and adoption throughout the state.

Grant applications can be submitted in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 for broadband-based education, train-the-trainer programs and online application development. State, local and county government agencies, as well as nonprofits, educational institutions, community organizations, and planning and economic groups, are eligible to receive funding. Individuals are not eligible to apply. The application deadline is Nov. 8.

“The goal of the program,” said WVGES Director Dr. Michael Hohn, “is to get West Virginians online and plugged into broadband technologies that will enhance the ability to create and retain jobs, as well as boost productivity. Access to this technology is going to become more and more vital to our day-to-day lives as time goes on.”

This will be the second year of Technical Assistance Grant funding under this program. During the first year, 33 grants totaling approximately $650,000 were awarded. Awards were made to support applications in projects and services in state, county and local governments, health care, higher education, emergency services, public safety, energy and the environment, libraries, agriculture, and economic development. Awards were granted in each of the state’s 11 Regional Planning and Development districts. A listing of projects awarded during the first round of funding can be found at:  www.wvgs.wvnet.edu/bb/grants.html; click on “2012 Awards.”

The WVGES Broadband Technical Assistance Grant Program is part of the State Broadband Data Development Grant, which was provided by the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to fulfill the goals of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Broadband Data Development Grant totals more than $6 million in combined federal and state funding and aims to work with all statewide broadband initiatives.

The purpose of the WVGES Broadband Data Development Grant is to map broadband availability in the state, create regional and statewide plans for increasing awareness and demand for broadband, and provide technical assistance to communities and organizations.

For more information about the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey’s Broadband Technical Assistance Grant Program and for application information, visit the project website online at: www.wvbroadbandmap.org and click on the “Grants” page.

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