Delta Co. Technology: Moving Forward

The Delta County Technology Planning Team completed its technology assessment in February…and is happy with the results.

“A community assessment generally takes about six to eight months to complete, but the DCTPT took the initiative to complete it in four months,” explained Tom Stephenson, Community Technology Advisor for Connect Michigan . “This community has shown their interest in becoming a Connected Community through their hard work and dedication.”

Through the assessment review, some members of the DCTPT voiced interest in using surveys to find areas where community members want to improve access and where infrastructure is needed.  The information from the surveys would then be used by providers to understand existing and potential markets for broadband subscribers.

In partnership with the Garden Peninsula Economic Task Force and Delta County , internet surveys were mailed to residents of Garden and Fairbanks township and is available online.  In addition to mail, residents can drop them off at First Bank in Garden.

“We hope residents take the time to complete the survey. It is a great example of the collaboration that exists in our community,” explained Vicki Schwab, Delta County EDA Director.

The assessment also highlighted existing resources in Delta County that include technology resources in schools such as iPads and Google Chrome books.  Escanaba currently has 3 iPad labs, Bark River has 2 iPad labs, and Gladstone is in the process of adding Google Chrome books.  Local organizations, such as the Escanaba Public Library, provide computer basic skills classes at no cost.  M-TEC at Bay College provides affordable classes that deal with basic technology equipment like how to use an iPhone.

Another item stressed during the assessment was OSF’s Tele-med capability.  The Fetal Infant Monitoring allows Obgyns secure access from remote locations to monitor real-time information on delivering moms.

During the February meeting, the DCTPT identified six different projects that would assist the Delta County community.  Identify, map, and validate broadband demand to understand existing and potential markets for broadband subscribers (both residential and business).  The project will include developing a team to conduct research surveys and market analyses to validate a business case.

  1. Create a partnership between libraries, school systems, computer suppliers, and broadband providers to provide free training and broadband service to low-income community members who are not participating in the digital age.
  2. Adopt an integrated approach to the organization, promotion, and delivery of technology education, training, and awareness for the community.
  3. Develop a broadband awareness program focused on agricultural businesses.
  4. Host website and social media classes for the local businesses.
  5. Develop a Teleworker Support and Attraction Program.

DCTPT meetings are held at the Chamber of Commerce, 230 Ludington St., in Escanaba at 9:00 a.m. The next meeting is scheduled for April 16.  For more information on the Delta County Technology Planning Team, contact the Delta County Economic Development Alliance at 906-786-2192 or at