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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 06/04/2008 12:04 PM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 06/11/2008 12:56 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM

ATCAA Wins Five County Technology Planning Grant...First Meeting on June 12th at Ironstone Vineyards

The Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) has secured a $250,000 grant from the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) to help five rural Sierra counties improve high speed Internet access for all households and businesses. The one-year project, called ATCAA Central Sierra Connect, will launch with the first meeting of the project Advisory Council in the morning and a community forum at Ironstone Vineyards June 12 from 1-4 pm. The community is invited to come to learn about the project and how they can get involved in the one-year work plan......

A presentation by Ernie Woods from Connected Nation, the pilot project ATCAA’s grant is based on is also scheduled for the afternoon. As Connected Nation’s Project Management Director, Ernie provides project management for Connected Nation engagements regarding technology development and implementation. Connected Nation ( is a national 501(c) 3 non-profit organization widely recognized for its ability to improve digital inclusion. Connected Nation expands access to and use of broadband Internet and the related technologies that are enabled when communities and families have the opportunity and desire to connect. Connected Nation has garnered international, industry-wide recognition as a best-practice model for technology expansion. The model relies on a public-private structure to accomplish extensive broadband asset mapping and to create customized local technology plans through grassroots eCommunity Leadership Teams.

The first meeting of the ATCAA Central Sierra Connect Advisory Council is on June 12, 2008 from 9-12 AM at Ironstone Vineyards.

ATCAA Central Sierra Connect involves Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties. It is part of a statewide effort to help rural counties gain 100 percent coverage for high speed internet and encourage wider use of technology by all residents. The CETF, created as part of private telecommunication company mergers, is charged with helping rural areas “catch up” to urban areas of the state.

“Ultimately, we all want high speed Internet to be as universal as telephone service and is easily to use for all residents including low-income, senior and disabled people,” said Project Coordinator Michelle Shelton. “That is vital to the future of our communities.”

Central Sierra Connect is the second of seven rural regions in the state to secure a CETF planning grant – the first, Redwood Coast Connect serving Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity and Mendocino counties, was funded last year.

The Central Sierra Connect grant will pay for ATCAA to lead a one-year planning effort that will pave the way for counties to apply for millions of dollars of public funding that will soon be available for rural communications improvements.

Each county will be contributing time and funding to the project, and each will be able to develop its own more detailed plans for future projects.

Calaveras County’s Mary Sawicki, the Program Manager for Calaveras Works and Human Services, said broadband connections are essential for helping disenfranchised people find jobs and resources. “It has been said over 80% of employment opportunities are advertised on the internet,” she said. “The internet opens up resources and educational opportunities that appear almost limitless. The most important next step is to work with the network of broadband providers to see how far and wide the service can become available.”

Shelton said the community forum on June 12 will give interested residents a chance to learn more, ask questions and get involved.

“People can also get a lot more information on our website:”


The Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency is a public agency created in 1981 under a Joint Powers Agreement between the counties of Amador and Tuolumne to meet the needs of youth, families and the elderly. A-TCAA’s mission is:

“to help individuals in Amador and Tuolumne Counties toward self-sufficiency; to support local residents in becoming involved and contributing members of our community; to promote family and other supportive environments so that children, youth and elders can achieve their maximum potential; and finally, to form partnerships and coalitions within the community to meet these needs.”

A-TCAA today has a professional staff of more than 125 people, an 18-member community board managing nearly 30 projects in five divisions in two counties. A-TCAA programs include the food bank, emergency and transitional homeless shelters, Family Literacy Centers, preschools, youth programs, energy assistance, information and referral services and more. More than 800 volunteers give thousands of hours each year in food programs, shelters, mentoring, youth programs and more, and ATCAA secures public and private grants and donations to support its projects and programs.

NOTE: Additional county contacts for ATCAA Central Sierra Connect:
Alpine County: Judy Molnar, County of Alpine (530)694-2287
Amador County: Kurt Knobelauch, County of Amador (209) 223-6470
Calaveras County: Mari Sawicki, Calaveras Works HSA (209) 754-6448
Mariposa County: Rick Peresan, County of Mariposa (209) 966 - 3222
Tuolumne County: Daniel Richardson, Tuolumne County Deputy Director 209-533-5511

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