By Matthew Miller
Montgomery, AL – Lead For America and Land O’Lakes today announced the placement of an American Connection Corps (ACC) Fellow in Alabama. Adrian Kittrell, the Fellow, will work to increase broadband access and digital literacy and contribute to critical community development initiatives in Montgomery. 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 a total of 50 Fellows to serve as community leaders across the country.
The American Connection Corps is a new, innovative fellowship program focused on bridging the digital divide, led by Land O’Lakes, Inc. 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.
“Lead For America is on a mission to build a generation of civic leaders dedicated to tackling the toughest challenges facing the communities they call home—and we are excited to bring our Hometown Fellowship model to Montgomery with Adrian” said Joe Nail, CEO and co-founder of Lead For America. “The coronavirus pandemic underscored the importance of both leadership, and of closing the digital divide in rural and urban communities across America. We are honored to partner with Land O’Lakes, and the many other American Connection Corps partners in placing 50 dynamic, and locally rooted leaders in the communities and places that helped raise them. We are committed to ensuring this initiative becomes a pathway home for outstanding Alabamans for many years to come.”
“By bridging the digital divide, our community can bulldoze barriers to information, digital literacy and opportunity for residents who do not have access to high-speed and high-quality internet connections,” Montgomery Mayor Steven L. Reed said. “Partnering with Lead For America and Land ‘O Lakes will help us spur transformative change in our region through an equitable approach to ensuring broadband access for all. We are eager to begin working with Adrian and the American Connection Corps.”
“I firmly believe there is a role for leaders at every level to be actively engaged in bridging the access gap to critical digital infrastructure and leveraging economic opportunities for the very communities they grew up in,” said Tina May, Land O’Lakes, Inc. vice president for Rural Services. “And, this is just the beginning – it is our intention that this program will both grow to make an immediate and significant impact and also prove to legislators at the state and federal level that there is a scalable, successful model for community development, which can ensure all Americans have access to this fundamental infrastructure.”
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. They will tackle tough challenges facing the country, strengthen its civic infrastructure and join a new generation of transformational community leaders. ACC 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.
Adrian Kittrell grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and he is currently finishing his degree from Auburn University of Montgomery. He has been involved in numerous organizations, having served in leadership roles with the Alabama State University NAACP, NAACP AYCD, 100 Black Men of America, Inc., and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. As an ACC Fellow with the City of Montgomery, Adrian will work to facilitate greater communication between the city and residents in service of reducing barriers to key government services. This project will entail assessing barriers to information access for city residents, with a specific emphasis on technological and digital access.
The American Connection Corps is led in conjunction with Lead For America (LFA) 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, 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.
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