Two economically depressed rural communities in Montana and Idaho are enabled with high-speed Internet via wireless and fiber optics. They recognize that they share a common problem: their citizens don’t know how to turn high-speed Internet access into economic and social value. Instead of outsourcing our jobs to countries that teach Ecommerce and telework skills, we need to generate this capacity in all our own rural communities. 

To establish new awareness and new learning relationships, our solution will be to create a replicable “Community Ecommerce Awareness Campaign” in partnership with establishing an “Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Center.”

“Community Ecommerce Awareness Campaigns” will include:  1.  Multiple events including multimedia presentations on what’s already working in other rural communities. 

 2.  Online lessons on Ecommerce and telework entrepreneurship based on proven success stories and strategies.   3.  Creation of a Community Mentors’ Guide to generate fast-track e-business skills to create multiple self-employment businesses. 

“Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Centers will be created to assist each community in initiating the following entry-level Ecommerce activities:  1.  Entry-level online auction and Ecommerce services to engage potential new entrepreneurs.  2.  Fast-track
e-business skill development to include entry-level online auction and Ecommerce entrepreneurship training.
  3.  Creation of an Ecommerce incubator (e-mall) to bring local new and existing businesses online.  4.  E-marketing initiatives for the community, its new Ecommerce businesses, and the new Community Cooperative Skills Registry.

The initial attraction of the “Incubator Centers” will be demonstration of how online auctions can easily turn common items into cash to generate self-employment businesses; employability skills using digital photography, art, and music; and learning to "learn and earn" in a friendly, non-threatening environment.  Continuing motivation and enthusiasm will be ongoing as people begin to tutor/mentor others, develop new for-profit services and develop and sell new products via online auctions, e-malls, and individual web sites.  (See Appendix H -“EBay Drop-Off Centers Sprout on Main Street USAIt is the perfect idea at the perfect time.”

The immediate and powerful impact from this first-of-its kind project is that the citizen engagement strategies, all rural Ecommerce and telework training materials, and documented ongoing outcomes will be shared with all interested communities via online newsletters showcasing the value of sharing innovations between communities. The more communities participating - the greater the proportional benefit to all.

Primary partners for this project include, Idaho State University’s Special Programs office in the College of Technology, the Montana Job Training Partnership, Lone Eagle Consulting, the Greater Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce in Montpelier, Idaho; and the Beaverhead County Commissioners in Dillon, Montana.  Long-term relationships already exist between key partners and multiple existing project and resources support the sustainability of this project.

Requested for this two-year project is $462,985 in TOP funding to match $467,020 in-kind contributions.




The Problem.  Rural America represents 25 percent of the U.S. population and is in the midst of a severe economic crisis.  Nowhere are today’s economic hard times felt more deeply than in rural America.  Rising prices in land and machinery, continuing downturns in agriculture, and increased global competition have left rural communities throughout the United States at risk for their continued survival.  There is an immediate need to revitalize the pioneering spirit that originally created them.  Rural Ecommerce and telework development strategies are needed to combat the impacts of a rapidly shifting economy. Rural adults suffer from anti-technology attitudes, and lack appropriate motivation and training to utilize advanced Internet applications. The rural communities of Montpelier, Idaho, and Dillon, Montana, are examples of this. (See Appendixes A and B.)


The need exists to quickly establish a model for rural communities on how to develop a shared vision for a focused community action plan.  This will enable communities to adapt to a changing economy to create a sustainable community – while there is still time to do so. Rural communities need to understand how to assess the value of intelligent use of collaborative Internet tools for leveraging the public good by gathering and sharing new knowledge to create new opportunities.  The need exists to engage adults in understanding their immediate options to counter the negative impacts of a changing economy.  Emphasis will be on the viable empowering opportunities represented by intelligent use of the Internet for building both social and economic value by generating new jobs through Ecommerce and telework.


In the 1980s and 1990s the perceived solution to the exodus of rural people to cities and the downturn in the economy was the installation of the “information highway.”  “Build it and they will come,” was the coined phrase of the day. It is significant to note that the proliferation of dial-up Internet did not produce the promised social and economic benefits because rural citizens were not provided the knowledge or skills needed to benefit.  The perception molded by mass media is that the computer and the Internet are commonly viewed as time-wasting toys best suited for children.


High-speed Internet infrastructure has become available in many communities, replacing the older, slow-speed dial-up technology.  Montpelier, Idaho, has had high-speed wireless for several years and Dillon, Montana, has had it for three years.  These communities now recognize the seriousness of learning how to take full advantage of the benefits available.


There is extensive and rapidly growing evidence that Internet infrastructure alone will not transform rural communities.  Glowing promises of telecommunication companies have proven inadequate.  Only personal, practical experience will prove to rural citizens that there are potential benefits of new technology.  Barriers of learning new technology must be overcome.  The fear of change and for “learning anything at all” must be addressed.


Rural communities are losing 3 – 5 percent of their population annually and the out migration of youth is decimating their future sustainability.  To support rural communities nationally there is a dire need to continually gather and share the best new replicable models for sustainable Community Technology Centers.  We propose the most sustainable model as being Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Centers – as a base for Ecommerce skills development.  Effective community learning programs are necessary to support online learning about Ecommerce and telework, generating social value, peer mentoring, and improving local collaborative capacity. An entrepreneurial culture needs to be created.


Community members will tell visitors they love their rural lifestyles and do not want to leave their respective areas.  But, there are too few jobs and due to the remote nature of their communities, there are few customers for their retail outlets.  It is highly unlikely a significant number of new businesses will relocate in these rural communities with limited labor pools. Rural entrepreneurship in small rural communities with a minimal consumer base must emphasize the rapidly growing global market at our fingertips on the web.


Solution and Measurable Outcomes.  Initial emphasis will be on creating widespread community awareness as to what is working for others like them, and fast-track skills development to generate visible measurable benefits to motivate citizens as to the value of new knowledge.


Implementation of the following project will create a low-cost, high-value, visible, community-learning program implementing advanced telecommunications applications.  It has two major components:  (1) A Community Ecommerce Awareness Campaign, and (2) an Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Center.


Community Ecommerce Awareness Campaign


This community-wide campaign will be an opportunity to generate new learning relationships and for-profit services by having local citizens showcase their talents and skills.  It will raise community awareness regarding advanced computer and telecommunications applications and to market their skills and new services locally.


1.         Multiple events including multimedia presentations on what’s already working in other rural communities. Working in cooperation with local sponsors, events will be held to articulate the purpose and goals of the centers and to stimulate interest in the planned development of new local service e-businesses.  Annual celebrations will serve as community self-assessment events.  A multimedia fair showcasing skills of local champions will be held to demonstrate new technology applications and to stimulate interest in planning a series of locally driven workshops.  (See Appendix C for details on multiple community engagement events.)


2.         Online lessons on Ecommerce and telework entrepreneurship based on proven success stories and strategies. Ten two-hour online lessons will be conveniently available to everyone interested which provide a hands-on overview of what is already working for other rural citizens.  (See Appendix D.)


3.         Creation of a Community Mentors’ Guide to generate fast-track ebusiness skills to create multiple self-employment businesses.  A community skills assessment will connect those within each community who have skills they are willing to share with others needing mentoring to gain new skills.  Development of new self-employment for-profit technology services to benefit the local community will be stimulated by incentives of advanced teleworker training in return for sustained peer mentoring.  Having two communities in the project will be especially beneficial here as mentoring can be done online between communities effectively doubling the talent pool.  (See Appendix E for Community Mentors’ Guide model.)


Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Centers


In both Dillon and Montpelier, the buildings, staff, computers, and high speed Internet are all in place.  The Montpelier site has two centers.  One is sponsored by the local hospital that seeks an Ecommerce training component as essential to community wellness.  The other center in nearby Paris, Idaho, with considerably more space and computers, will work in partnership with the telemedicine center.


The problem is that today only 16 percent of rural citizens are entrepreneurial. This center program serves to accelerate creation of a rural entrepreneurial culture, an evolution which has just begun as evidenced by the majority of rural citizens who have used online auctions or know someone who has.  To achieve the primary goals of new income and social value, “Ecommerce and Telework Incubator Centers” will be created to assist both communities in initiating the following entry-level Ecommerce activities:  (See Appendix F for expanded explanation.)


1.         Entry level online auction and Ecommerce services to engage potential new entrepreneurs.  To raise curiosity, commission-based online auction services will be offered to the community to turn items brought to the center into cash.  At this level, no technical experience will be necessary.


2.         Fast-track e-business skill development to include entry-level online auction and Ecommerce entrepreneurship training.  Essential Internet skills will be taught at each center to those who are afraid of the Internet or otherwise have a lower skills level.  Hands-on online auction skills will be taught along with computer entrepreneurial and Ecommerce skills.


3.         Creation of an Ecommerce incubator (e-mall) to bring local new and existing businesses online.  A web-raising event will launch an e-mall as the local web community content resource for e-business and collaboration.  Existing and emerging new businesses will be offered the opportunity to get on the web quickly using web templates and/or low-cost Ecommerce store builder services. 


4.         E-marketing initiatives for the community, its new Ecommerce businesses and the new Community Cooperative Skills Registry.  Using the marketing skills and services of the regional Small Business Development Centers, a priority will be collaborative e-marketing of local businesses, emerging new businesses, the skills of local citizens, and the community as a whole.  A Community Cooperative Skills Registry similar to an example from a successful telework business in Scotland (See Appendix G) will be created along with electronic resumes.  Both communities will maintain a local online newsletter as an ongoing e-marketing strategy and self-evaluation mechanism for the community to monitor its own progress throughout the project’s timeline.


Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture in Rural America


The initial attraction of the “Incubator Centers” will be demonstration of how online auctions can easily turn common items into cash to generate self-employment businesses; employability skills using digital photography, art, and music; and learning to "learn and earn" in a friendly, non-threatening environment.  Continuing motivation and enthusiasm will be ongoing as people begin to tutor/mentor others, develop new for-profit services and develop and sell new products via online auctions, e-malls, and individual web sites. “It is the perfect idea at the perfect time,” says the author of “EBay Drop-Off Centers Sprout on Main Street USA.”  (See Appendix H.)


            Essential skills needed to benefit from the Internet will be made available during open hours as short training sessions.  These sessions like those listed above will be presented for self-directed learning.  People whom initially just “drop off products” for sale will soon become hands-on users mentoring others in the use of the public resources of the computer lab.  These learning skill units (after browsing and searching) can be addressed in any order depending upon the specific needs and interests of the participants.


Training will be made available in a variety of forms so people can apply whatever method best suits their needs. Building upon extensive existing curriculum for essential Internet skill development as well as online Ecommerce and telework lessons, Lone Eagle Consulting will customize training materials specifically for this project.  (See Appendix K.)


Essential skills needed to benefit from the Internet will be made available in the form of individualized training using computer-based training (CBTs) and one-on-one, small groups in more formal settings with instructions for hands-on learning, mentoring others, and developing learning circles.


Modules using these delivery systems will be developed and include but are not limited to the following:

·        Browsing Basics

·        Searching Basics

·        Email Basics

·        Listserv Basics for Group Collaboration

·        Web-Authoring Basics

·        Digital Photography and Photo-Manipulation Basics

·        Digital Art Tablet Basics Multimedia Basics

·        Downloading and Installing Software Basics


            Help will be available for those wishing to have their own web site.  Participants need only to learn a few basics and then have someone help them, show them, or do it for them depending on the participant’s needs and levels of motivation to learn.  These sites will be linked back to the e-mall to create a community of learning and assistance to everyone.  For example, the e-mall could supply the expertise for collecting money and helping to distribute the goods.  Once again by people looking at other sites, they will gain an understanding of what’s working for others.


            By working together on these learning projects, it will become evident that not all people will have to learn everything.  By pooling their expertise and by collaborating with each other, it will take less time for people to start using the more useful aspects of the Internet for their own individual purposes.


            As people learn Internet skills and learn what others are doing, there will be a need to provide lessons in small business start-up, home-based businesses, and entrepreneurship.  Lessons will be offered in a similar way as the skills lessons.  These skills will be offered via the Internet, by two-way distance learning, or by classroom work.




The simplicity and common sense of the low-cost, high-value community activities of this project, combined with the immediate opportunity for replication due to the online availability of curriculum, mentors, and peers from a sister community make this project unprecedented in preparing for high impacts and widespread dissemination.


            Citizens will be able to learn skills in the short term to take them from being rote beginners with computers and Internet to being confident Internet self-directed learners as well as being able to mentor others, online and offline, for a profit or just out of their own goodwill. Demonstrated enthusiasm from previous technophobes will be a significant innovative outcome of this project.


            The Center’s plan for future sustainability will include an online community auction house service, an Ecommerce incubator, and a community e-mall to generate its own income while at the same time serving the needs of the community.


            The incentive of additional skills training to develop for-profit services will continue to stimulate participation in this unique community program in partnership with the Centers.  Citizens will offer many services including digital photography applications, digital art, web authoring, music recording, family multimedia scrapbooks and more.  As awareness grows for the products and services that can be produced with computers, new opportunities to offer for-profit services will emerge to provide the support for an economically sustainable center.


            Collaboration with people living in similar circumstances many miles away will prove the benefits of working and sharing.  As ideas are exchanged and people learn what’s working for people in other locations, online collaboration with different countries and the world could emerge thereby benefiting many cultures and opening even wider markets than previously thought.


            One of the more innovative aspects of this project is other rural communities interested in emulating this project will have direct online access to the project’s full plan, the extensive Ecommerce curriculum, and the ongoing progress posted online as regular newsletters by the participating communities.


            Innovations of this project build upon the knowledge and resources created by past projects including previous Technology Opportunities Program incubator grants and other past major rural development projects such as ACEnet, the Kellogg’s “Managing Information in Rural America” project, the MIT Camfield Estates project and Hewlett Packard’s digital community initiative.




The premise of this entire project is “Doing for Ourselves – Together.”  There are many built-in incentives in this project for community involvement at both the individual and group levels.  The project presents small bite-size learning blocks in a very logical succession of methods whereby the community will prove to itself what it can achieve.  Very specific multiple measurable outcomes provide for community ongoing self-assessment. 


            This project will involve the four main pillars of rural communities – education, business, health care, and government encouraging citizen engagement at all levels.  The superintendent of schools in the Bear Lake School District (Montpelier) arranged a full-day workshop for approximately one hundred district teachers and continues to support learning activities.  Successful Ecommerce businesspeople will share their success stories with both communities.  Bear Lake Memorial Hospital, recognizing a positive economy is vital to community wellness, has offered continued support to Ecommerce training.  The Governor of Idaho has set aside incentives for capital investment in broadband capacities in rural areas.  (See Appendix I – Letter from Trent Clark.)


Citizens will receive incentives to mentor and involve others, to create new web-based content, and to increase new service businesses.  Conversations with local citizens indicate that after years of innovations raising local awareness, the rural citizens in Dillon and Montpelier are at last ready for the robust scope and scale of this project.




Mr. Steve Cisler has agreed to be the external evaluator for this project.  He currently is a librarian and telecommunications consultant who has been involved with community networks since 1986.  In the 1990s, while at Apple Computer, Inc., he made grants to libraries and communities that were building Free Nets and other community networks.  He convened two community networking conferences, Ties That Bind, in 1994 and 1995 that brought together networkers from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and Germany.  He headed a project to free up unlicensed wireless spectrum (5 GHz band) for public use.  In 1996 he helped found what is now the Association for Community Networking and since then has been active in rural United States and in Latin America to help grow community technology information projects.


A graduate assistant from the College of Business will be employed to gather ongoing data for evaluation purposes.  This position will be supervised by Lone Eagle Consulting.


            The first six months of the project will be used to design and conduct a pre-assessment for community readiness to use as a baseline.


            Throughout the project as indicated in the Timeline (Appendix L) evaluations will be taken for all ongoing activities.  A variety of instruments will be used including measuring server traffic, enrollments, the mentors’ roster, the skills register, individual resumes, etc.  All instruments will be developed with the assistance of the external evaluator.


            A post-assessment will be conducted at the end of the project.  The data will be summarized and compared to the pre-assessment and the compared to business trends in Idaho, Montana and the U.S.


            As the Timeline indicates (Appendix L), at the end of the project, these reports will be compiled and distributed.




Primary partners for this project include with Idaho State University’s Special Programs office in the College of Technology, the Montana Job Training Partnership, (MJTP) Lone Eagle Consulting, the Greater Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce in Montpelier, Idaho, and the Beaverhead County Commissioners in Dillon, Montana. Long-term relationships already exist between key partners and multiple existing projects and resources support the sustainability of this project.   The primary organizations that will provide support for the project include the following:  Monsanto Company, Bannock Development Corporation, Idaho’s Workforce Training Network, Eastern Idaho Development Corporation, Bear Lake School District No. 33, Bear lake Memorial Hospital, ISU Institute of Rural Health, Partners for Prosperity, The Greater Bear Lake Valley Chamber of Commerce, Beaverhead Chamber of Commerce, and Beaverhead County Commissioners.  See Appendix K for their letters.


The Idaho State University Special Programs office has participated in economic development projects to identify ways to bring economic relief to Idaho’s economically depressed communities.  A pilot project was funded in FY02 with state rural economic development funds to create an Ecommerce project in Montpelier for individuals to develop personal skills and a plan of action for self-sufficiency.  The success of this project has inspired this proposal. 


This project’s design is based on direct grassroots implementation and decades of seeing what has and has not worked in dozens of other projects.  The sheer volume of the community planning resources (see Appendix K – Major Training Resources from Lone Eagle Consulting) available to participating communities at the beginning of this project is in itself noteworthy.  The social recognition and attention to the direct and immediate benefits to individuals as well as to their communities make this project believable and exciting to potential participants.  (See information on successes in both communities in Appendixes A and B.)


The Montana Job Training Partnership (MFTP), through a new five-year demonstration grant from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy, addresses the needs of Montanans to understand the many ways they can earn income through Internet Ecommerce and telework strategies.  This project is redefining workforce education by addressing systemic change and is summarized at  This project’s premise is that Ecommerce opens a global market and can start with something as simple as eBay, an online auction site. Our rural communities are suffering out-migration of youth, representing the loss of future citizens and the vitality of a rural way of life.  Further, people with disabilities have little to no job opportunities. To determine their own destinies, they will have the opportunity to quickly learn the rural Ecommerce and telework strategies, which are already working for others.  The demonstration project has benefited from online courses and printed training resources developed by Idaho State University and Lone Eagle Consulting. The partnership between MJTP, ISU, and Lone Eagle Consulting has already resulted in yet another innovation: the Lone Eagle Self-Employment Incubator at .


Individuals who will carry out the project, Ms. Margaret Phelps and Mr. Frank Odasz, (See Appendix J) collectively have had years of experience in conducting these types of projects.  Both have rural backgrounds and understand the difficulties facing rural citizens.  Mr. Odasz has many years of experience in community networking and Ms. Phelps routinely does education and training in rural communities and is involved with economic development in Idaho.




            Both communities will engage in planning during the first six months of the project to involve as many local citizens and organizations as possible.  The Centers will open six months after the project begins.  At the same time the centers open, major presentations/events will mark the grand openings.


Beginning with the seventh month, the e-malls will be established.  Technology fairs, multimedia events, and tutoring/mentoring will take place.  At the beginning of the second year, the Community Cooperative Skills Registy will be developed and teleworker resumes will be posted online documenting new marketable skills.  Emphasis will be to learn e-marketing techniques and work on Ecommerce business plans.  Workshops for small business development and entrepreneurship will be offered. 


At the end of eighteen months, data will be summarized for the final reports and evaluations.  (See Appendix L for a full graphical timeline.)


Conclusion and National Impact (Working Together – We’ll All Have Access to All Our Knowledge)


            As an immediate dissemination strategy, the evaluation, curriculum, and anecdotal information will be available online for replication by communities who can self-identify their readiness.  These additional communities will be supported as partners via a subscription online newsletter designed to become a sustainable resource after the project’s completion.  Separate from the two local community newsletters, a national/international newsletter will serve the mission to empower all rural communities by providing a serious collection point for ongoing success stories, community curriculum, key resources, and specific inclusion strategies designed for rural communities.



Montpelier, Idaho

Homesteading the Ecommerce Frontier in Montpelier



Idaho’s population is 1,193,953 and encompasses a total of 82,747 square miles.  There are 15.6 people per square mile.  The population of Montpelier is 2,785 with a per capita income of $12,364.  Montpelier has had high speed wireless for several years, but only after one year of community Internet awareness-raising events co-sponsored by Idaho State University and Lone Eagle Consulting have the local leaders interested in the cause for creating a community Emall and hosting their own community awareness-raising events.


The following is the trail of stories, events, and resources showing how a small Southeast Idaho town is coming to understand the potential of local high-speed wireless Internet for citizen involvement, capacity building, and Ecommerce- to create an economically sustainable community.  Our hope is this story will serve to inspire others to take action to determine their own destinies.


In February 2002, presentations on "True Community Internet Empowerment" were given in four Southeast Idaho communities. Five persons attended the Montpelier presentation.  This included the president of the Greater Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce. As a result, the president helped in a follow-up presentation.


In February and March 2002, Margaret Phelps, director of the Idaho State University College of Technology Special Programs Office, contracted with Frank Odasz, of Lone Eagle Consulting, to create a low-cost online class specifically intended to be a first online learning experience for rural citizens to raise their awareness.  An article was written to set the context for the current challenges under discussion: "Homesteading the Ecommerce Frontier"


In April 2002, a presentation was held at the local Oregon Trail Museum Theater with 35 persons attending.  At the conclusion, over a dozen individuals signed up for the online course "Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies" which was announced for the first time at this event.


In May 2002, a special presentation was given to the local hospital staff.  (Hospital Presentation Flyer –  The Bear Lake Hospital administrator supported this local Ecommerce awareness as a component of community wellness and, requested a special presentation for his staff to explore its possibilities.


In June 2002, after several follow-up visits by Idaho State University staff - an event was planned as a fundraiser for a local community improvement project and to help raise local awareness regarding entry-level Ecommerce opportunities represented by The event was titled "A New Age Garage Sale."


As time passed, a steering committee was organized in November 2002 to define future directions.  And in January 2003, forty-two persons attended an "Introduction to Ebay" workshop presented by local Ebay expert, Jared Caldwell.


In February 2003, three days of awareness and training events were hosted by the first Bear Lake Technology Fair using primarily local experts.  These events included:  A hands-on exploration of existing Rural E-mall models and related web sites; training students to use search engines to gather graphics and create web pages; and, Family Multimedia Scrapbooking sessions, teaching digital photography, digital storytelling, web authoring, CDROM authoring, and other family-oriented multimedia applications.  Other workshops presented by local experts included:  Photographs Restored Digitally; Digital Music; Digital Art; Internet for Dummies; Internet Ecommerce Success - Tips For Getting Started; and, Ebay Questions and Answers


There were outreach presentations to neighboring communities presented shortly after the Technology Fair.  The first "Kick-off" three-hour presentation was given in Soda Springs in direct response to the interest created by Montpelier.


In February 2003, the Ecommerce steering committee decided to create a community E-mall.  They have volunteered many hours finding shopping carts, registering as a non-profit business, setting up checking and credit card accounts, and finding business partners who would like to begin selling their products online.  “Clover Creek Mall" will soon be open for business at with approximately ten businesses selling products ranging from handmade quilts, lotions, jewelry, and woodcarvings.


In March 2003, the first formal rural development Ecommerce grant was submitted.  Local Ecommerce success stories have begun to be identified and shared regularly in the local newspaper along with motivational articles to raise awareness on how rural citizens are learning to benefit from Internet opportunities. Most were surprised at how many success stories existed just down the street!


A Rural Ecommerce Success Story ( and has evolved.  The janitor from the high school retired after creating a successful Ecommerce business selling baseball bats globally. This model can be replicated for many other products. There are 50-120 packages shipped daily, both nationally and internationally. He has successfully homesteaded his global niche and is expanding with five new websites.


As of February 2003, the number of interested leaders has grown significantly and neighboring communities have begun to request presentations to help them better understand what they, too, can do on behalf of their own futures. The Montpelier Ecommerce steering committee is defining a mission statement and meets regularly. A community Ecommerce grant has been written and submitted, and an E-mall is being created to host local business web sites. A major three-year grant project is under development to bring Montpelier's success to other Idahoan communities.



Dillon, Montana



Montana has 145,552 square miles with a total population of 902,195.  There are a total of 6.2 people per square mile.  The town of Dillon has a population of 4,147 and each year the population declines slightly.  Per capita income within the county is $15,621 with 17.1 percent of the population living below poverty.  Dillon has had high-speed wireless for two years and has a history of ten years of Internet innovations starting with the Big Sky Telegraph project, one of the very first rural connectivity projects.  It connected over 100 one-room schools statewide form 1988-1998.  Followed by the Dillon-Net project, a TOP project funded in 1997 to create a community technology center, which served as a national model from 1997-2002.  Dillon’s leaders now are looking for specific strategies to understand how to take the next big step to unlock the economic and social value that Internet collaboration holds.


The front-page story of Silicon Valley’s premier newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, (October 31, 2000) was on the impact of the Internet in Dillon, Montana.  The article heralded Dillon-Net, as a model Community Technology Center.


The Dillon-Net Community Technology Center is closing its doors, after having been an awards finalist for the International Rural Innovation Bangemann Challenge 2000 competition held by the King of Sweden.  Dillon-Net was also an awards finalist two years in a row for the American Online Rural Innovations Competition.  Perhaps Dillon is ready to take the next step in demonstrating how the collective will of a community can create a model for realizing the potential of the Internet?


NOTE: Read more about Dillon’s Internet innovations in this chapter from “The Good Neighbor’s Guide to Community Networking” at  This guide was written on contract for the state of Texas and the guide’s table of contents is at


From 1988 – 1998, the Big Sky Telegraph Network was a national model, based at Dillon’s University of Montana, Western campus.  The Big Sky Telegraph Network was created to engage teachers in determining how the online medium could help them share curriculum resources and generally determine how good people could learn to support one another, online.  During this same ten-year period, the community networking movement rose, and fell, while technologies changed and experimental community-building applications of the online medium wee conducted nationally.


When the Big Sky Telegraph project was created, few people accepted getting online as something important to learn.  The Dillon-Net project created a local community-gathering place where young and old could have access to their first hands-on Internet experiences, and could learn from each other about the benefits.  Both projects have prepared Dillon for what might be considered the next chapter for how a community can learn about the self-empowerment potential of online learning and collaboration.


Community Ecommerce Awareness Campaigns


            Examples of diverse, motivating community awareness event and workshop models are listed below. Communities will be invited to select the most appropriate models from the full “Bootstrap Academy” at


            Kickoff community workshops.  Community presentations showcasing the best web-based resources and digital stories of community successes can articulate the opportunity for the following sequence of programs and services.  Lone Eagle Consulting,, specializes in uniquely motivating presentations featuring digital photography, digital art, and digital music in a multimedia story-telling format, which has proved very successful over a ten-year period with diverse audiences.


            Community web content competition.  Give prizes for the best instructional site, best local resource, and best collection of resources from other communities and sources, best Ecommerce site, and/or the most entertaining site.  Or, hold a competition for the best (fun, or most rewarding) hands-on 15-minute web tour; a self-directed learning experience using only text and web addresses.


            Community web-raising.  Similar to barn-raisings, bring your web-literate youth and citizens together with those who need help creating their first web pages.  A community Talent Roster and/or Web-Mall could be created in a day hosting both business sites and citizen mentoring/topical resource web sites.  The social recognition would be self-reinforcing and new information-sharing relationships would result in enhanced community collaborative capacity.

            Regular community technology nights.  Initiate digital storytelling presentations.  Begin regularly scheduled community technology nights to raise awareness and provide a showcase for local innovations and to connect those who need tech-training help with those who can provide it. 


            Ecommerce eBay web-raising.  Everyone with something to sell would be invited to attend the event and bring a sample product.  Participants would take digital photos of each product to be sold and would post them on eBay.  The local paper would report on how many items were posted and after two weeks how many sold. A 10 percent commission on products sold would go to the organizations hosting the web-raising for the purchase of additional community training equipment. Citizens would become aware of the effectiveness of eBay and would learn the basics of researching online to see what similar products are selling for.


Community talent database.  Use this simple format to list mentors by the topic areas for which they offer online email-based mentoring as a first step toward community engagement is sharing knowledge via the Internet.  Local media will ‘celebrate’ the creation of new knowledge-sharing relationships as a means of creating community sustainability.  Example: Ask A+


A Beginners Guide to Profiting from the Internet


            The ten two-hour lessons at present a hands-on overview of what’s working for others like you and include activities exploring many of the best Ecommerce and telework training materials and resources available – from which you’ll easily be able to determine the resources best suited for your continued self-directed learning.  It is designed to be interactive with others and the instructor.  A brief introduction to each chapter is listed below:

Lesson OneEcommerce and Telework Readiness Skills.  This class will provide a hands-on overview of your key opportunities related to Ecommerce and Telework.  You’ll review what has already been proven to work for others and will learn where to find specific information when you need it.

            Lesson Two Ecommerce Fast-Track Strategies – With the world changing so rapidly, you need to find a way to keep track of new trends in order to know what’s working for others and what is coming next.  Because there’s so much that’s changing, finding ways to deal with information overload is a priority.  Take advantage of available resources that have already summarized information

            Lesson Three Ecommerce Cooperatives and Virtual Incubators.  If you are a crafter and just wish to sell your crafts, perhaps you don’t need your own web site.  You might use eBay, or you might just post your crafts on a crafters’ cooperative web site along with the crafts of many others to benefit from collaborative marketing.

            Lesson Four E-Marketing Strategies.  Using available resources, you can market your products or web site globally just as effectively as anyone in a big city – once you know how.

            Lesson Five Entrepreneurship Training Opportunities.  Imagine being able to live anywhere, either working for yourself running your own businesses, or working for someone else, but still able to live anywhere and set your own work schedule. 

            Lesson Six Online Resumes and Job Sites – Selling Yourself.  Extensive resources on all kinds of careers, both online and offline, can be found at job-finding sites that allow free posting of resumes and many other sophisticated features.

            Lesson Seven Telecommuting and Telework Opportunities.  Telework relates to work performed via telecommunications.  Employers are finding that many high quality workers are demanding this type of flexible work arrangement as a condition for employment.

            Lesson Eight International Trade Training Resources.  By U.S. standards, most of the world is still in poverty.  New satellite and wireless systems will soon be able to bring the Internet to nearly any point on the globe – bringing the potential for new economic solutions. 

            Lesson Nine How to Start a Business.  There is a process to follow and extensive resources are available to assist you.  Patience and perseverance are required, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly your new business concept can become a reality.

            Lesson Ten New Rules for the New Economy.  With everything changing there are a few key points to keep in mind regarding the big picture.  In a world of accelerating change, your strategy is to benefit from those resources that allow you to “ride the wave” instead of being dragged along.  There is increasing importance on the value of relationships.


Community Mentors’ Guide



The online community mentors guide will include a listing of services people would be willing to share (either volunteer or paid) with others and what they would like to learn.  All participants in the program and the public would have access to this information.  This database will contain such information as the following:


Last Name, First Name

email address

Paid or


Skills I am Willing to Share

Skills I Want to Learn





Web page construction

Anti-virus program overview


Computerized bookkeeping





Using eBay

Digital Camera Basics

Hard-drive maintenance

Word processing





Building a Web Tour

Business Startup

Eliminating pop-ups

Home based business rules





Internet browsing

Writing skills

Webpage construction

Pricing on the Internet





Photography – touch-ups

Computerized bookkeeping

Word Processing

Grammar refresher





Posting web pages

Maintaining a web site

Searching and Browsing the Internet

Visual Basics





PostNuke software

Digital Camera Basics





Spreadsheet basics

Anti-Virus Overview





HTML code basics

Dreamweaver software


The possibilities of such a guide are unlimited.  Participants will have the advantage of sharing for free, charging, or perhaps trading services and skills.  Volunteer groups as well as individuals could use the site.  People who don’t think they have anything to share could look at the “Skills I Want to Learn” items and get ideas for how their skills match with people needing/wanting to learn those skills.  Many hobbies, services and products could be enhanced by this method.  The outcomes to be measured include the number of people participating, services and products produced, whether or not money was exchanged.


The broader benefit will be the online collaboration between individuals and groups.  People will discover valuable and useful lessons in using the online advantages of the Internet.  They will learn that distance is not a barrier to many of these services.  They will become more entrepreneurial and it will motivate them to economic endeavors.


Ecommerce Centers Expanded Explanation


Careful analysis of ten years of community technology centers ( will reveal that most community technology centers do not emphasize teaching online collaboration and online learning skills or prepare citizens for online participation in community networks to build collaborative capacity. Most centers have only a vague idea of what curriculum will be most empowering. As an initial practical strategy they tend to focus on teaching employability skills often limited to word processing and computer basics.

Community technology centers need to prioritize teaching self-directed Internet learning skills and online collaboration skills, ideally generating local community networks as the hub for local online capacity building focusing on collaborative local problem-solving. Short learning modules should be sequenced in a progression of empowering capabilities with certification for specific skills achieved. Civic participation and mentoring others would be inherent as part of the essential skill-building activities.

These centers will be a combination Community Technology Center, Online Auction Drop-off Center, and Ecommerce Incubator. Free services will be offered to take digital photos of products for sale (quilts, crafts, antiques, etc.)  and then store them for shipment for a defined period while attempts are made to sell them.  Different methods of selling will be provided for people to choose from.  Auction centers such as Auction Watch and eBay are two choices.  The third is to put the items up for sale in the virtual web mall.

            This center will motivate citizens to “learn-to-earn” by offering the opportunity to bring items for sale to the center for free posting on online auction or mall sites.  A small commission will be charged only for items sold, thus allowing citizens an effortless way to turn their salable items into cash.  This storefront e-business will display all post salable items for others to see what is being auctioned online.  Shelves of products will be open for bidding as well.  Records of products will be visible for what has sold and at what price so the community can benefit from this type of market research.

            When people come to the center with products to sell, they’ll be asked to remain in the center while the initial product posting service is being performed.  They need to answer questions regarding their products and/or services they wish to sell, and they will need to watch to make sure it is being performed to their specification.  The intent is that after “watching” they will be offered the opportunity to perform the computer operations for themselves while being tutored and then, finally, just to come in and do it themselves.

            The center services will provide free sit-down sessions to help newcomers get comfortable with how to both research markets for their goods as well as how to post their items themselves.  Ten computers connected to the Internet will be immediately available to open the door for one of the biggest steps of all – self-initiated, hands-on computer exploration and learning.

The center will serve as an e-business and telework incubator.  It will provide a place for people to access computers, Internet, phones, shippers, marketing, business expertise, and multiple services to help them get their businesses started.


Skills Registry



The Skills Registry has several purposes.  It will be a registry of community members who have marketable skills.  This will allow local leaders to access and market the skills of the community.  An example of a registry is listed below:


Work Skills Register – Alphabetical Listing by Main Skill



Primary Skill

Secondary Skill




Word Processing

B.S. in Business



Spreadsheet Design

B.A. in Finance




B.S. in Business & Counseling



Public Relations

A.A.S. in Marketing & Management




B.S. Business (Bilingual)



Database Design

M.S. in Computer Systems


Project Management

Training Services

Certificate in Work Measurement




Journeyman Printer



Music Composition

Registered Mental Nurse



Graphic Design

High School and 15 years Experience with Publishing Company


The value of this registry is best described by the work done in Scotland by Mr. Donnie Morrison:


Scottish Islanders Prove Telework Works!

Donnie Morrison had a vision ten years ago for his Scottish villages in the Outer Hebrides Islands.  By installing high speed Internet, instead of exporting their youth, they could retain time by providing quality telework jobs.  Having reversed their out-migration of youth and talent, the schools are once again overflowing.  Today, six telecenters are filled with over 300 highly paid teleworkers.  A recipient of the European Telework Association award for excellence, Donnie now has corporations across Europe requesting hundreds more teleworkers – ASAP.  Donnie will tell you that his creation of a regional skills registry was the catalyst to their success.  (“Best idea I every had!”)  Donnie met Frank Odasz last month and both are eagerly planning work together including connecting cultural communities via the Internet, and much more.


EBay Drop-Off Stores Sprout on Main Street USA

Reuters News Service

Wed Jan 14, 2004


By Lisa Baertlein


LOS ALTOS, Calif. (Reuters) - EBay Inc., the world's biggest online marketplace, is inspiring an unlikely entrepreneurial spin-off:  Bricks-and-mortar middlemen of the kind many thought Web retailing would force out of business.


The drop-off stores, including newly minted chains such as AuctionDrop, iSold It, QuikDrop, AuctionWagon and Pictureitsold, charge a commission to handle eBay auctions for people who are unwilling or unable to do it themselves.


The stores are important to eBay since the company's growth forecasts hinge on signing up more new eBay sellers and getting existing sellers to become more active.


"Only 8 percent of our customers have ever sold o­n eBay, so it's totally incremental for them," said Randy Adams, chief executive of AuctionDrop, the most richly funded of the drop-off stores that have sprung up in the last year.


Hani Durzy, eBay's spokesman, said the company embraces the offline outgrowth of its business and has no plans to open stores of its own.


"It's just another way of extending the eBay marketplace. We're happy to see this growing and expanding out of the trading assistants program," he said.



Store owners say they have helped customers sell everything from four lifetime seats for San Francisco 49ers professional football games and Lucchese handcrafted cowboy boots to new and "classic" computers.


Users say the stores -- which take a commission and pay eBay fees before sending proceeds to customers -- often do a better job than they could of taking pictures, researching fair value, writing sales blurbs and shipping.


Carol Shaffer, a software company training director, has been selling on eBay for almost six years and tried AuctionDrop after a new job left her too busy to oversee her own o­nline moving sale o­n eBay.


All told, Shaffer said she's sold well over 100 items via AuctionDrop, including several Coach purses and jewelry. "It was just the perfect idea at the perfect time," Shaffer said.


Thus far, AuctionDrop has collected $6.6 million in venture funding from Mobius Venture Capital and Draper Associates. It operates four stores in the San Francisco Bay area that feed into a central processing hub.


Since opening its first store in March, the value of items sold by AuctionDrop is $1.6 million, with $300,000 of that coming in December, said Adams, a so-called "serial entrepreneur" who in 1994 sold his start up Internet Shopping Network to the Home Shopping Network.


The windows of AuctionDrop's store in the wealthy Silicon Valley town of Los Altos display current for-sale items, including an oboe, an antique beaded handbag, a vintage Kodak camera and various high-end gadgets.


This year, AuctionDrop plans to add company-owned stores in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas and to expand its West Coast hub. It then expects to open an East Coast hub in New Jersey and a Midwest hub in the Chicago environs, before launching other hubs in the Dallas and Atlanta areas to support local stores. Profitability is targeted for 2005, Adams said.


AuctionDrop's planned move into Los Angeles will put the company in direct competition with rival iSold It, which opened its first store in Pasadena in mid-December and already is selling franchises.  Also franchising is Costa Mesa, California-based QuikDrop, which has stores in Texas, California, Alabama, Montana, Virginia and South Carolina.


ISold It founder Elise Wetzel, who started the Wetzel's Pretzels franchise with her husband, got the idea for giving people an easy way to sell o­nline after she arranged a school fund-raiser in which parents raised money by selling items from their closets o­n eBay.

"You can do it yourself, but who has the time and the knowledge? We're giving people access that they don't have right now. It's a value-added service," said Wetzel, who is scouting locations for 15 stores in Southern California and thinks that there could be 500 iSold It stores in the United States by the end of 2005.


Wetzel said iSold It boasts a 95 percent sell-through rate and takes a 25 percent commission.


Including all fees, a person selling a $100 item through iSold It would keep close to $70, Wetzel said. According to AuctionDrop's Web site, selling a $100 item at o­ne of its stores would net the seller about $59.







Role of the Partners – Idaho State University


Idaho State University (ISU), located in Pocatello, Idaho, is one of the four universities in the state.  It provides both general education and specialized programs to approximately 13,000 students each year.  The university serves the current and emerging needs of the state and region through its wide range of education, research and public service programs for students, the general public, public agencies, and private industry.


The College of Technology, one of eight colleges at ISU, has as a part of its mission to be responsive to the emerging needs of business and industry.  The College of Technology designs and provides programs in response to the employment and economic development needs of the region and state.


In addition to being a college within ISU, the College of Technology is a part of Idaho’s statewide system of professional-technical colleges.  Idaho’s Professional-Technical Education system is the state’s primary educational delivery system for preparing Idaho’s workforce.  In addition to its full- and part-time programs, customized training and workforce development programs are delivered as non-credit, short-term programs to individuals, businesses and industries, and communities.  These programs, an integrated part of the regular professional-technical schools, are a part of statewide efforts to meet the needs of its citizens.  The Workforce Training Network comprised of all the technical colleges in the state, cooperates in its efforts to provide statewide programs to develop the workforce, to meet the needs of business and industry, and to be a partner with other state agencies in economic development.


This program at the ISU College of Technology is known as Special Programs with Margaret Phelps as its director who will serve as the Project Director.  A biographical sketch appears below:


Margaret Phelps, M.Ed., Director, Special Programs, College of Technology, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho


            Margaret is the Director of the Special Programs office at the Idaho State University College of Technology.  She has held this position for the past seventeen years.  As Director, her responsibilities include interacting with business and industries throughout southeastern Idaho to provide training programs for their employees.  She works with a wide variety of special community agencies including Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Development Centers, Economic Developers, and Idaho Departments of Commerce, Labor, and professional Technical Education.  She implemented two rural outreach centers and had administrative responsibility for these centers for a period of five years.  The centers represented a partnership of approximately ten different participating groups and/or agencies.

Margaret Phelps has written and had administrative responsibility for dozens of small grants offered through the Idaho Division of Professional –Technical Education.  Most recently she has either written or assisted industries to write Workforce Development Training Fund grants offered by the Idaho Department of Commerce.  The largest one she helped manage was for $500,000.







Role of the Partners – Lone Eagle Consulting


Lone Eagle Consulting - Frank Odasz, President and CEO, will be contracted to be the project administrator and master trainer.  His services include, but are not necessarily limited to, event planning and execution, specialized event presentations, event promotion, train-the-trainers online Ecommerce and telework instruction, online mentoring, general training workshops, and general project consulting.  Based on his daily rate for work performed remotely, $500 a day and calculating five full days per month - $2,500/month x 12 x 2 sites = $60,000.  Based on his standard rate for presentations $1,500/day and four major events per year per site (8 events x $1,500 = $12,000), his services would total $72,000 per year. (With no additional paid benefits.)


Additionally, he has agreed to create and customize curriculum specific to the project, conduct community self-assessments, and facilitate the creation of online newsletters as in-kind match.  This is based on his daily rate of $500 a day and calculating 5 days per month = $1,500/month x 24 months = $60,000.


A resume for Frank Odasz is at along a biography and a 22 page chapter on Frank’s twenty year history engaged in online learning and community networking innovations. (To be published summer 2004.) During 2003, Frank Odasz presented keynotes on Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) for government conferences in Australia and Jamaica.


During 1998-2000 Frank served as a popular presenter for the Kellogg MIRA (Managing Information in Rural America) project. Kellogg’s assessment of the value of one day workshops was $3000/day. Evaluations from all Lone Eagle workshops are in the MIRA archives at The recent history of Lone Eagle events is documented at  An Internet search for “Frank Odasz,” “Big Sky Telegraph” and/or “Lone Eagle Consulting” will reveal the scope of impact to date.


The San Jose Mercury News in Silicon Valley published a full front page article on Dillon, Montana in 2001 titled: “Net makes rural Americans less isolated - A Montana town struggles to reconcile Old West values with the new Net economy. Here’s a quote:  Nobody in Dillon knows more about cultural barriers to new technology than Frank Odasz, the Johnny Appleseed of community networking.”

Extensive existing resources reflecting twenty years of experience will be available for use by this project. The following sample resources are specific Internet training products for which Lone Eagle Consulting retains full copyright. Additional extensive resources are at


Major Training Resources From Lone Eagle Consulting:

NEW Online course “ A Beginner’s Guide to Profiting from the Internet”  Ten two-hour hands-on lessons providing an overview of what’s working for others like you regarding Ecommerce and telework self-employment.


Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies
A 200 page book including ten online lessons


Master Listings of Original Writings on Internet Empowerment
Community Internet Empowerment
 The first article is a Authenticating Rural Internet and Broadband Benefits - A Reality Check Written for the Australian.

Rural Ecommerce Success Stories  The first article is Rural Ecommerce Successes in Idaho An ongoing collection funded by the USDA through the Rural Development Council of Idaho.  See also Two Years of Montpelier Events Awareness-raising events and Ecommerce success stories from the two-year effort to create Idaho’s first community success story - in Montpelier, Idaho.

Common Ground: A Cross-Cultural Self-Directed Learner's Internet Guide   Created for USAID, AT&T and the ERIC clearinghouse. An instructional brokerage resource with emphasis on pointing to the best online tutorials, and educational resources, on the Internet for self-directed learning. This is the text for the online course "Making the Best Use of Internet for K-12 Instruction."


This guide is supported by free access to two graduate credit online classes:

1.      ED 597 4L - Making the Best Use of Internet for K-12 Instruction
Alaska Pacific University
Three Semester Credit Version 

2.      ED A597 6L - Designing K-12 Internet Instruction
Alaska Pacific University 3 Semester Credit Version 

Published book chapters and articles
Big Skies and Lone Eagles: Lending Wings to Others, Online - A Rural Perspective 
A 20 page history of Frank Odasz written for an upcoming book as a history of online learning from a rural perspective.  

The Future of Community Development; Making the Living You Want, Living Wherever You Want Published by Technopress.

BIOGRAPHY: Frank Odasz, M.A., President and CEO, Lone Eagle Consulting, Dillon, Montana


Born in Cody, Wyoming, in 1952, Frank Odasz has been a carpenter, oil field roughneck, dude ranch manager, college professor and is now a “Lone Eagle” – that is, an independent instructional entrepreneur living on a ranch eight miles southwest of Dillon, Montana. Modeling western individualism by pioneering the electronic frontier, Frank is living proof the Internet can be used to allow rural citizens to retain their cherished rural lifestyle. Lone Eagle Consulting champions the cause of creating more rural Lone Eagles able to live and work anywhere they choose.

In 1982 Frank attended the University of Wyoming to learn the benefits that computers and telecommunications could bring to rural citizens.  As one of the early pioneers of both online learning and community networking, he founded the Big Sky Telegraph network in 1988.  This was one of the first online systems to offer online courses for rural educators in over one hundred one-room schoolhouses in Montana.  He directed this program until 1998.

Frank served on the founding boards for both the Consortium for School Networking and the Association for Community Networking. Frank has been a very popular presenter providing rural community workshops for the Kellogg “Managing Information in Rural America” project, workshops for educators for the International Thinkquest Competition, CTCnet national conferences, AFCN-cosponsored community networking  conferences, and has advised on grant applications for the Hewlett Packard Digital Village initiative, as well as U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office of Migrant Education technology projects.

In 2002, he created Rural Ecommerce and Telework Strategies as a non-credit first online course specifically for rural learners. Currently over 40 rural adults, and 20 Athabascan High School youth are enrolled in the Rural Ecommerce course. Frank has been the keynote speaker for the Rural Workforce national conference three years in a row and for many other Ecommerce conferences including the National Native American Employment and Training conference, 2003. Additional Ecommerce presentations are listed at .

Frank has been teaching rural citizens and teachers consecutively since 1988. Among the other online courses he has created are Classroom Collaboration on the Internet; Mentoring Online; How to Create and Teach an Online Class; Making the Best Use of Internet for K-12 Instruction; and Designing Online Curriculum for K-12 Instruction. Frank teaches online graduate courses for Alaska Pacific University, Seattle Pacific University and the non-credit Ecommerce course for Idaho State University.

Specializing in fast-track Internet training for rural, remote, and indigenous learners for the last 20 years, Frank has traveled over half a million miles presenting at national and international conferences on online learning, community networking, and rural Ecommerce. Frank has diverse experience working with Alaskan villages and rural communities. Frank’s work has been recognized for excellence by four congressional reports, the White House, and dozens of books and publications. Resume:

An Internet search for “Frank Odasz” or “Big Sky Telegraph” or “Lone Eagle Consulting” and a review of the original and collected resources at will give a quick idea of the extent of experience and resources Lone Eagle consulting brings to this project. And of the extent of the national and international impact of ongoing sharing of these unique resources.





Year 1 - 1st Quarter

Oct 1 – Dec 31

Year 1 - 2nd Quarter

Jan 1 – Mar 31

Year 1 - 3rd Quarter

Apr 1 – Jun 30

Year 1 - 4th Quarter

Jul 1 – Sep 30

Year 2 - 1st Quarter

Oct 1 – Dec 31

Year 2 - 2nd Quarter

Jan 1 – Mar 31

Year 2 - 3rd Quarter

Apr 1 – Jun 30

Year 2 - 4th Quarter

Jul 1 – Sep 30

Meet with community teams to plan and schedule events, buy needed supplies, and prepare centers. Develop curriculum, develop newsletter template, finalize evaluation and data collection plans, survey tools, and methodologies.


















Two-day events beginning with kick off event









Begin online lessons and collaboration









Begin registering Mentors and begin mentors’ guide









Monthly workshops as needed









Initiate peer mentoring within the communities and between communities









Publish the online newsletter for each community


















Open center for learning and auctions









Fast Track Business Skill Development









Create local business e-mall









Create skills registry and post online resumes









Online Ecommerce incubator









Emarket the community, new ebusinesses, and new telework skills of the new entrepreneurs


















Pre-Assessment of Communities









Collect evaluative data









Complete and write final evaluation









Progress and budget report to TOP









Final report and claim to TOP










Statement of Matching Funds




ISU Special Programs will provide $69,217 for the project director and administrative support, $7,739 for travel, $6,000 in contractual costs for speakers, and $16,000 in funds earmarked for economic development directly from Special Programs funds.  Additionally, the office will provide one music keyboard at $200, an LCD projection unit at $2,000, and reporting software valued at $2,000.



Lone Eagle Consulting will develop customized curriculum, create the online newsletter, develop the mentors’ roster, develop the skills register, assist in advertising the project by writing news articles for local newspapers, promote the project to other public agencies, take the lead in providing documentation for the external evaluator, and supervise the graduate student.  These combined activities are calculated at the daily rate for work of $500 x 5 days a month x 24 months ($60,000).  Additionally, there will be no charge for travel expenses to the Dillon site valued at $1,490



Direct Communications, an eastern Idaho service provider, will provide staffing for a training center, computers, and the Internet connections.  The amount will be two part-time workers at the training site valued at $37,374, ten new high-speed computers valued at $2,000 each ($20,000), Internet connections and installations for training centers at $1,450, and high speed Internet connection valued at $300 per month x 24 months ($7,200), tables and chairs valued at $3,500, and janitorial supplies at approximately $200.



Bear Lake Memorial Hospital in Montpelier has offered availability in their wireless computer classroom and help from a librarian and computer technician.  Items are valued at computers valued at $7,500, tables and chairs at $3,000, filing cabinets and storage shelves valued at $600, janitorial supplies for $200, building space rental at $9,000 each year, which includes electricity and heating ($18,000).



For Dillon, a service provider (yet to be determined) will provide installation and connections for the value of $1,450 and high speed Internet connections valued at $300 per month x 24 months ($7,200).




Eastern Idaho Development Corporation will provide 12 hours per month for counseling and training for small business start-up and entrepreneurship valued at 12 hours x 24 months x $35/hour ($10,080).



Montpelier, Idaho – Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber will assist finding peer tutor/mentors who will offer to donate half their time at no cost, 240 hrs/month x $20/hour x 18 months = $86,400 – one half to be paid to the tutors/mentors and one half to be donated by them ($43,200).  Local radio and newspaper will provide $3,000 of promotion and advertising for the project.



Dillon, Montana – Sponsored by the Beaverhead County Commissioners will provide computers, tables, chairs, cabinets, campaign promotions, rent, janitorial supplies, and software – 10 computers valued at $2,000 each ($20,000), tables and chairs (computer tables and chairs, folding tables and chairs) ($6,500), filing cabinets and storage shelves ($600), janitorial supplies ($400), campaign promotions valued at $3,000.  Building rental to include heat and electricity at $750/month x 24 months ($18,000).  Reporting software ($2,000).  They will also assist in finding peer tutor/mentors who will offer to donate half their time at no cost, 240 hrs/month x $20/hour x 18 months = $86,400 – one half to be paid to the tutors/mentors and one half to be donated by them ($43,200).



Webmasters.  Both sites will have a webmaster to create and maintain websites and manage the emalls.  In Montpelier the going rate is $40/hour.  The webmaster will be hired for 8 hours a week at a cost of $15/hour.  The other $25/hour will be donated as community service – $25/hr. x 8 hrs/week x 78 weeks ($15,600).  The going rate in Dillon is $55 an hour.  The webmaster will be hired for 8 hours a week at a cost of $20/hr.  The other $35/hour will be donated as community service - $35/hr x 8 hrs/week x 104 weeks ($29,120).