On June 17, Van Meter community leaders held a kickoff meeting to join Connect Iowa’s Connected Community Engagement Program that seeks to boost the local economy and quality of life for residents through increased access, adoption, and use of broadband.

The meeting was held at the American Legion Hall in Van Meter, with representatives present from the city, business community, school districts, and development groups. Participating in the Connected program will require an extensive assessment of overall broadband and technology innovation in Van Meter. The committee will be reaching out to others in the community to complete the assessment as needed.

"We are excited to be a part of this important initiative that will put our residents on the information superhighway," said Jake Anderson, Connected community champion and city manager of Van Meter. "As our world becomes increasingly technology-driven, we don’t want to be left behind. The Connected community certification process will help us achieve a better business environment, more effective community and economic development, improved healthcare, enhanced education, and more efficient government."

The Connected Community Engagement Program facilitates assessments of local broadband access, adoption, and use. The goal of the program is to help develop strategies to better harness the power of technology in order to stimulate local economic growth. The Connected program seeks to increase the number of high-tech companies and jobs, ensure that schools have sufficient access to broadband, and maximize technology options for healthcare, libraries, local government, and citizens.

For more information about the project or to join the Connected community technology team, please contact Connect Iowa at info@connectiowa.org, or Connect Iowa Program Manager Amy Kuhlers at (515) 421-2561.

Anderson can be reached at janderson@vanmeteria.gov or by phone at 515-996-2644.

Van Meter will begin the assessment process immediately and hopes to have the process completed by September 2014.