Funding secured through the annual government funding bill boosts educational and economic opportunity on the Navajo Nation by improving internet access
WASHINGTON – Arizona senators Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly today announced $2,925,627 for Diné College’s CONNECT NAVAJO Project — an initiative to improve educational and economic opportunity on the Navajo Nation by improving internet access, providing more hardware, and investing in information technology (IT) personnel.
“Today’s critical funding will make a big difference for students on the Navajo Nation — expanding internet access, improving retention rate, and moving one step closer to closing the digital divide. I’m proud to help secure this necessary investment for Diné College,” said Sinema.
“Access to computers and reliable internet is crucial to students’ success in the classroom. This grant will ensure Diné College students have access to new laptops, mobile hotspots, printing kiosks, as well as professional development training,” said Kelly. “We’ll continue working to bridge the digital divide for the next generation of leaders and innovators on the Navajo Nation.
The funding comes from the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program — a grant program reserved for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) to purchase broadband internet access service and eligible equipment or to hire and train IT staff. The program is funded through the Sinema and Kelly-supported Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
Thanks to the nearly $3 million grant, Diné College’s CONNECT NAVAJO project will expand and improve internet access for students and for the Navajo Nation. The project will provide new technology – including laptops and mobile hotspots – to ensure online participation as well as information technology training for members of the Navajo Nation to learn technical skills.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs law – bipartisan legislation led by Sinema and shaped by Kelly – invests $65 billion to deploy high-speed broadband, expand broadband internet access, and help families afford broadband service, including dedicated funding for connectivity on tribal lands.