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The Dalles Economic district wins Innovation Award

WASHINGTON, DC – The Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, based in The Dalles, received a 2013 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation for the Klickitat-Skamania Local Technology Planning Team project.

“Washington State University Extension, Community Enrichment for Klickitat County, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District and many partners have been working on increasing broadband awareness, access and adoption in the Gorge,” said Linda Williams, WSU Extension Klickitat County. “After years of being told it was too expensive to offer high speed internet service to Glenwood, earlier this year we were successful and we now have multiple telecommunications providers offering broadband in the community. This group builds on a decade of work region to expand access to telecommunications advancements. Over the past year the group has conducted a needs assessment of the broadband infrastructure and use in the region to create an up-to-date understanding. The LTPT is now building on this foundation by addressing key challenges identified, similar to those that were identified in Glenwood.

Current efforts include conducting a public internet hot spot inventory, working with communities and internet service providers to increase internet accessibility throughout the counties, and conducting broadband technology training for businesses and residents utilizing a newly developed mobile laptop lab.

Brian Wanless (CEKC) notes that the LTPT’s work is important to its communities and businesses because in today’s world, “Having affordable and reliable broadband in rural areas is as important as having water and electricity.” The LTPT believes that these connections provide access to business, employment, and teleworking opportunities as well as educational resources and daily necessities. This project is supported by the Washington State Broadband Office with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies. The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. Award winners were showcased during NADO’s 2013 Annual Training Conference, held August 24 - 27 in San Francisco, California.

“For nearly 30 years, NADO’s Innovation Award has provided regional development organizations the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to promoting economic development in rural and small metropolitan communities across the country. Building on the unique strengths and challenges of each region and community, award recipients continue to promote sustainable economic growth not only now, but for many years to come. And I am pleased to announce that this year over 100 regional development organizations were selected to receive NADO’s 2013 Innovation Award,” said NADO President John Leonard, Executive Director of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission in Valdosta, GA.

For more information about the award-winning project, contact the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District at 541-296-2266.

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