PRAIRIE ISLAND — The Prairie Island Indian Community near Red Wing received a wireless telecom license from the Federal Communications Commission.

The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau granted 154 applications for use of the 2.5 GHz band to close the digital divide and provide broadband and other advanced wireless services – including 5G service – to rural tribal communities through the agency's inaugural Rural Tribal Priority Window.

"Few communities face the digital connectivity challenges faced by rural tribes," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "By prioritizing tribal access to this mid-band spectrum, we are ensuring that tribes can quickly access spectrum to connect their schools, homes, hospitals, and businesses."

In Minnesota, there were three licenses granted. The other two went to the Red Lake Nation and Upper Sioux Community.

These licenses can be used by tribes to connect their communities. During the priority window, the commission received more than 400 applications to obtain overlay licenses for unassigned 2.5 GHz band spectrum to help address tribes’ connectivity needs.

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"Having visited many of these communities and met with tribal leaders, I have seen first-hand the connectivity difficulties facing Native Nations," Pai said. "I am exceedingly pleased that, less than a year after we announced the timeline for the Rural Tribal Priority Window, we are now distributing 2.5 GHz band licenses to help Tribal communities bridge the digital divide."

$400,000 grant funds mechatronics training at MSC-SE

RED WING — Minnesota State College-Southeast's Red Wing campus will be supported by a $400,000 grant through the Minnesota Jobs Skills Partnership to bring mechatronics training to Red Wing, Lake City, and Cannon Falls.

Seven manufacturers have partnered with MSC-SE, including Red Wing Shoe Co./S.B. Foot Tanning Co. and 3M Fall Protection (Red Wing); Ardent Mills, Hearth and Home Technologies, Pepin Manufacturing, and Valley Craft (Lake City); and Gemini (Cannon Falls).

Mechatronics technicians work with industrial electricians, engineers, and technical support staff to ensure that production processes and equipment can be expanded and sustained in a wide range of industries. MSC-SE has established mechatronics curriculum for college and workforce training at its campus in Winona.

“With the Red Wing Campus developing a mechatronics program, this will allow the maintenance staff great opportunities to obtain the needed training locally,” said Brian English, Member and Community Relations Manager of Hearth and Home Technologies.

WSU names Jon D. Olson new executive director of WSU Foundation

WINONA — Jon D. Olson has been appointed vice president for advancement and executive director of the WSU Foundation.

“The most recent fiscal year represented WSU’s most successful fundraising year ever, thanks to our dedicated team in the University Advancement division, and I believe Mr. Olson’s leadership will build on this strength and bring Winona State to the next level," said WSU President Scott R. Olson.

Jon Olson
Jon Olson

Olson most recently served as senior vice president of development at Northern State University Foundation in Aberdeen, S.D. He received his bachelor of arts in Spanish from St. John’s University and a master of sports administration and facility management from Ohio University. The appointment will be effective Dec. 1.

"I look forward to working with our students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, community members, legislators and friends of Winona State University to help connect the needs of the institution with available external resources, to develop partnerships with industry and benefactors, and to learn about your needs and how we can better serve you," Olson said.