Michigan county is first 'Connected Community' in the country
Charlevoix County was recently recognized by Connected Nation with the first Connected Community certification awarded in the United States.
The Connected Community Engagement Program, managed in Michigan by Connect Michigan, supports the building of a comprehensive action plan for a “connected” community by reviewing the technology landscape, developing regional partnerships, establishing local teams, and conducting a thorough community assessment of broadband access, adoption and use.
Working with Connect Michigan, Michigan State University Extension partnered with the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance which provided staff leadership to organize and direct this effort.
MSU Extension educator and NLEA president Andy Hayes explained that the certification came after a several-monthlong assessment undertaken by Charlevoix County Community Engagement and the creation of the Charlevoix Broadband Action Plan. The plan contains specific recommendations of projects to expand digital literacy, build awareness of the benefits of broadband, assist businesses with websites and social media, and improve the online presence of local governments, among other recommendations.