Digital equity and inclusion — affordable access to broadband internet, technology and devices, and skills and literacy — are vital components of economic development for rural communities. Prepare for forthcoming infrastructure funding and learn about how to leverage local assets by registering to participate in the next virtual Rural Community Action Assembly.

Panelists and participants will discuss best practices, policies, and funding opportunities for digital equity investments as part of a comprehensive economic development strategy. Presentations will include recent data on access in rural Pennsylvania and how to increase capacity for applying for grants. Additionally, we’ll dive into the roles of philanthropy, small internet service providers, and others in community efforts toward digital inclusion. Lastly, the assembly will touch on timelines for funding and how to prepare for this historic opportunity at the local, regional, and state levels.

The agenda includes presentations from:

  • Roxanna (Roxy) Barboza, Industry and Cybersecurity Policy Analyst, NTCA
  • Jeremy Hegle, Lead Community Development Advisor, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
  • Sascha Meinrath, Palmer Chair in Telecommunications, Penn State University and Director, X-Lab
  • Ashley Putnam, Director, Economic Growth & Mobility Project, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Small group breakout discussion

Attendees will discuss the panel presentations, including opportunities and challenges for local implementation, in small breakout groups

Full assembly report back

Each breakout group will report back on their conversation to the full assembly with group discussion to follow.

This virtual meeting is a continuation of the Rural Community Action Assemblies begun in 2020. The series focuses on actionable research and programmatic models to promote strong and equitable community, economic, and workforce development in rural Pennsylvania. This series is cohosted by the Philadelphia Fed's Community Development and Regional Outreach Department, Penn State's Center for Economic and Community Development, and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

Don't miss out. Participation is free, but registration is required and attendance is limited. A video recording and presentations will be shared publicly afterward. Please forward this invitation to colleagues, friends, or others who might be interested in this event. Participants will have opportunities to engage with their peers, and all attendees will be encouraged to contribute to the conversation.

We hope you will join us. For questions about this series, please contact Nathaniel Borek at

  1. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia (the Bank) and cohosts may take photos, audiotape, or videotape of this event. By my attendance at the event, I grant the Bank permission to audiotape and/or videotape my voice and/or likeness and to include the same in a videotape that the Bank may produce of the event. I agree that the Bank shall have exclusive ownership of, and the right to copyright, publish, televise, distribute, or otherwise use such videotape for any lawful purpose