October 18, 2018
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Axiom Education and Training Center’s National Digital Equity Center receives $699,503 AmeriCorps grant

Community Author: Susan Corbett
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Funding will support 16 AmeriCorps members for the Maine Digital Inclusion Initiative for three years.

MACHIAS – Axiom Education & Training Center’s National Digital Equity Center has received a $699,503 AmeriCorps grant from the Maine Commission for Community Service (MCCS) to support 16 AmeriCorps members who will provide digital literacy training.

This grant will support AmeriCorps members in eight counties across the state. AmeriCorps members will tackle the critical challenges of closing the digital divide, allowing the National Digital Equity Center program to expand its impact on this important local issue. The remaining eight counties will be served by NDEC digital literacy staff.

“AmeriCorps is an indispensable resource to help meet critical challenges facing our communities and nation,” said Susan Corbett, founder and director of the National Digital Equity Center. “We’re thrilled that the Maine Commission for Community Service has recognized the potential that AmeriCorps members in Maine offer to communities. These AmeriCorps members will meet pressing local needs as they develop civic and leadership skills that last a lifetime.”

“AmeriCorps members are improving the lives of citizens and having a positive and lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our communities,” said John Portela, chair of the Commission for Community Service. “While they serve others, AmeriCorps members also expand opportunity for themselves – gaining skills and experience to jumpstart their careers. We congratulate the National Digital Equity Center for their strong application, and thank all AmeriCorps members for their dedication to service.”

“In order for rural communities and businesses to compete in the 21 st  century, they need both affordable access to high- speed broadband and the skills to use it effectively,” said Senators Collins and King. “Axiom has done so much to promote digital literacy in Maine, and these funds will help expand their vital efforts on behalf of our state. We’re excited to see that Americorps has chosen to invest not only in Axiom, but in Maine, and we stand ready to help maximize any efforts to help rural Maine people access the digital tools and connectivity they need.”

AmeriCorps programs operate as a public-private partnership that leverages significant amounts of outside resources to stretch the federal dollar and increase community impact. This grant will generate an additional $4.5 million over the three years of the project in local matching support and other outside resources from businesses, foundations and other organizations. AmeriCorps program funds originate with the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. State Service Commissions, like the Maine Commission, manage and support grants that operate within their state while the federal agency manages programs operating in multiple states.

In addition to the grant funding, the Corporation for National & Community Service will make available $284,160 in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards for the AmeriCorps members funded by these grants. After completing a full term of service, AmeriCorps members receive an award of $5,920 that they can use to pay for college or to pay off student loans.

AmeriCorps annually engages 75,000 members in intensive service to serve through nonprofit, faith-based and community organizations at 21,000 locations across the country. These members help communities tackle pressing problems while mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve. More than 6,500 Maine residents have served among the million AmeriCorps members who have chosen to serve since 1994. These Mainers have contributed more than 9.2 million hours of service addressing critical challenges from poverty and hunger to disasters and the opioid crisis. These Maine AmeriCorps members have also earned Segal Education Awards totaling more than $21.8 million.

The Axiom Education & Training Center has established itself as a nationally recognized Digital Literacy and Digital Inclusion expert and rolled out its National Digital Equity Center program in September 2017. The National Digital Equity Center provides communities with the expertise needed to mobilize broadband technologies through digital inclusion, literacy efforts, education, resource planning, funding research, leveraging infrastructure and stakeholder engagement. AETC has trained over 8,000 residents and over 1,000 businesses at more than 50 locations in Maine. For more information – www.digitalequitycenter.org.

Maine AmeriCorps programs are administered by the Maine Commission for Community Service. For more information, visit http://www.maineservicecommission.gov/national-service