On Thursday, February 13, at Noon CST, Illinois Extension will host Matt Schmit, Deputy Director for Broadband, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Illinois Office of Broadband, for the first of three webinars, Connect Illinois Grant Program for Broadband Infrastructure. 

In 2019, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly agreed to invest $420 million in the historic Connect Illinois broadband program. As the country’s largest competitive matching grant program, Connect Illinois seeks to extend critical high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions throughout the state.

The Illinois Office of Broadband recently opened the application window for the first $50 million in funding. In collaboration with University of Illinois Extension, the office will host a series of webinars to help potential applicants and other stakeholders understand the Connect Illinois program and the current funding round.

As Deputy Director for Broadband within the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Matt administers the state’s Office of Broadband and Connect Illinois grant program. Prior to this role, Matt engaged public policy from various perspectives and wearing different hats: as state legislator, leading on such issues as infrastructure and economic competitiveness; as academic researcher, published author, and university instructor; and as independent consultant.

In office, Matt led the push for ubiquitous broadband access through creation of Minnesota’s Office of Broadband Development and related Border to Border Broadband grant program. Throughout his career, Matt has enjoyed consulting, collaboration, and research primarily in the areas of technology deployment, infrastructure investment, and economic development. Integration of 21st century infrastructure is a primary focus of his work – and his research. For the past decade Matt has maintained active membership with the Transportation Research Board, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.

This webinar is free and open to the public. REGISTRATION is required. University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact Nancy Ouedraogo at esarey@illinois.edu.