Grants encourage IT planning

The University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Information Technology Commission

(NITC) have joined a program that uses "mini-grants" of $2,500 to prod regional

groups across the state into planning for the use of IT.

Communities or groups receiving the grants also will serve as pilot

communities for the Community IT Toolkit, which includes materials developed

by the NITC and Technologies Across Nebraska. The toolkit is designed to

provide communities with the background and informational resources they

will need to implement IT projects.

Nebraska overall is competitive with other states in the use of IT,

said Anne Byers, community IT manager for the NITC, and some communities

are fairly well-invested in technology. But more could be done to get communities

used to incorporating technology as a part of their planning and development

processes.

"The participants in our program will be required to develop a couple

of assessment instruments, and may also need to do others, such as community

surveys of the technology they already have, IT inventories and so on,"

said Byers. "They may also feel they need to bring in consultants. The grants

will help them with all of that."

NITC already has an extensive program of grants for fully realized technology

projects, she said, and the communities involved in the mini-grant pilot

program will be encouraged to apply for those after they've done the initial

assessments.

Applications for mini-grants have to be filed with the NITC by Aug.

1, and the final list of participants will be posted a month later. The

project is expected to run from September 2002 through May 2003. n

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached

at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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