SPEARVILLE, Kan. – Lead For America and Land O'Lakes, Inc. today announced the placement of three American Connection Corps (ACC) Fellows in Kansas. These fellows will work to increase broadband access and digital literacy as well as contribute to critical community development initiatives in Wabaunsee County and Wichita.
The American Connection Corps is a new, innovative fellowship program focused on bridging the digital divide, led by Land O'Lakes and Lead For America (LFA). As part of the national network, ACC Fellows will have access to premiere national training on community organizing, broadband and digital inclusion, and a network of LFA leaders nationwide. Over the course of the application window, the program received hundreds of applications from emerging leaders across the country. After an extensive interview process, the Fellows program has selected 50 individuals to serve as community leaders across the country.
ACC Fellows will serve their home communities in locations nationwide through high-impact, high-urgency two-year placements focused on closing the digital divide and building the next generation of leaders. In partnership with local institutions listed below, the three ACC Fellows will tackle tough challenges facing Kansas, strengthen its civic infrastructure and join a new generation of transformational community leaders. Fellows will also participate in LFA's national Changemaker Summit, attend quarterly retreats, receive 1:1 expert mentorship, and join a growing community of local leaders.
The following organizations will host Fellows in their communities:
- Amalia Murguia: Office of Economic Development for Wabaunsee County Government
- Amalia, under the direction of the Office of Economic Development – and in partnership with residents, small businesses, educators, and local internet providers – will assess broadband needs and shortfalls, identify potential resources and programs to fill gaps, and develop initiatives to improve digital literacy. The focus will include how Wabaunsee County – its residents, small businesses, and schools turns broadband access and adoption from a relative disadvantage to competitive advantage.
- Jose Trejo: Empower Evergreen, Wichita, Kansas
- Through Empower Evergreen, a newly formed non-profit organization focused on the holistic development of Wichita's predominantly Hispanic community, Jose will work directly alongside the Executive Director to help streamline work productivity for Hispanic owned business owners by using broadband as well as identify ways to increase access to technology for education and workforce purposes for Hispanic children and families.
- Christianna Mershon: Newman University, Wichita, Kansas
Through Newman University's Division of Student Affairs, Christianna will use some of her time researching, implementing and executing strategies focused on ways digital broadband can increase campus and community involvement; thus leading to higher retention rates of students. Additionally, Christianna will identify barriers that limit access to the internet with a special focus on students from rural communities.
The American Connection Corps is led in conjunction with Lead For America and funded through the support of 20 additional partner organizations, including: Land O'Lakes, Heartland Forward, CoBank, Tractor Supply Company, Microsoft, Mayo Clinic, Ariel Investments, Scoular, CHS, Zoetis, Tillamook County Creamery Association, Accenture, University of Minnesota, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Midwest Dairy, Purdue University, Partners for Education, CentraCare, Common Sense Media and University of Illinois Extension.
For general information on the ACC, please visit: https://www.lead4america.org/american-connection-corps
Lead For America (LFA)