The Blandin Foundation recently announced it has awarded 13 grants to rural Minnesota communities to advance high-speed internet access and use in those communities.

The Brainerd lakes area will benefit from a $15,000 grant from Blandin Foundation in support of Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation's mission to expand business, build community and grow jobs. These resources will offer the funds needed to continue and grow this 31-year-old initiative.

"Blandin Foundation's continued support of BLAEDC's efforts to grow the tech services industry sector has been pivotal," said Sheila Haverkamp, executive director of BLAEDC, in a news release. "The Talent Recruiter project will build on our efforts and support local companies in hiring key employees to help them grow and expand in the Brainerd lakes area."

The program promotes economic growth and prosperity for the area. Talent Recruiter will help meet community and business needs, connect skilled workers with technology companies and promote the Brainerd lakes area as tech-ready.

Since making rural broadband use and access a focus in 2003, Blandin Foundation has partnered with leaders in more than 100 communities and organizations across the state to support sustainable broadband adoption to enhance quality of life and place. The 13 grants in this round total $132,670.

Blandin Foundation works for rural Minnesota communities by investing in community leaders and working with partners to expand opportunity for all residents.