WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRPROUD) — Southern University and A&M College has been awarded over $6.2 million by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration as part of a pilot program for connecting minority communities.

This program is a part of President Biden’s Internet for All initiative and directs funds for expanding high-speed internet access and connectivity to eligible colleges and universities across the United States.

Southern intends to use the grant to expand its programs like its virtual teacher training through virtual reality and the ‘Southern University Reaching Across the Digital Divide’ (SURADD) project. This project will aim to close the digital gap by creating a K-12 pipeline to involve education candidates with interactive VR spaces and tools.

“Southern University has always been on the cutting edge, and today’s award will help to ensure that it stays that way,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “It was the first institution in Louisiana that aspiring Black teachers could attend, and today, it’s preparing the next generation of teachers with the latest technologies like virtual classrooms. I’m grateful to federal, state, and local leaders and the hardworking staff at Southern for making today’s award a possibility.”

Colleges and universities awarded include Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU), Minority-serving Institutions (MSI), and Hispanic-serving Institutions (HSI) across the nation.

“This is extraordinary news for Southern University and supports my administration’s goals of making broadband accessible to all, investing in education at every level, and building a talent pipeline that will fuel the jobs of the future,” said Louisiana Gov. Jon Bel Edwards. “Thank you to NTIA for recognizing the progress being made in Louisiana and investing in our vision. With a focus on equity, this generous grant will accelerate our efforts to eliminate the digital divide.” 

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