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August 13, 2018

Axiom lands $700K grant to close 'digital divide' in eight Maine counties

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Susan Corbett, founder and director of Axiom's National Digital Equity Center in Machias, announced that the center has received a $699,503 AmeriCorps grant from the Maine Commission for Community Service to support 16 AmeriCorps workers who will provide digital literacy training in eight Maine counties.

About Axiom Education and Training Center

The Axiom Education and Training Center is a nationally recognized "digital literacy and digital inclusion expert" and launched 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. Axiom Education and Training Center has trained more than 8,000 residents and 1,000 businesses at more than 50 locations in Maine.

Machias-based Axiom Education and Training Center received a $699,503 AmeriCorps grant from the Maine Commission for Community Service to support 16 AmeriCorps workers who will provide digital literacy training.

The grant to Axiom's National Digital Equity Center will support AmeriCorps members' efforts in eight Maine counties to close the "digital divide" between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet and those who do not. Funding will support the 16 AmeriCorps members for three years.

Digital literacy staff from the National Digital Equity Center will serve the remaining eight Maine counties.

"AmeriCorps is an indispensable resource to help meet critical challenges facing our communities and nation," said Susan Corbett, founder and director of Axiom's 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."

In a joint statement, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, said affordable access to high-speed broadband and the skills to use it effectively are essential tools for "rural communities and businesses to compete in the 21st century."

"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," they said in a news release. " 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' funding leverages additional support

AmeriCorps programs operate as a public-private partnership that leverages significant amounts of outside resources to stretch federal funding and increase community impact.

The $699,503 AmeriCorps grant from the Maine Commission for Community Service 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 one in Maine, 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.

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