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The Montana Choice Process


Promising Practices for Creating Learning Communities

The First Step:
The five-year U.S. Department of Labor demonstration project “Montana Choice” begins with hosting ecommerce and telework awareness presentations in rural communities to engage citizens in online lessons and ongoing online group interaction regarding understanding entry-level web-based self-employment opportunities.


Lone Eagle Multimedia Presentations
http://lone-eagles.com/new.htm for the roster of recent and upcoming presentations
http://lone-eagles.com/presentations.htm for presentation descriptions

Recommended as the first step toward motivating and mobilizing your rural community. Designed to motivate rural citizens and leaders regarding how best to empower themselves and others through informed use of the Internet.


The Montana Choice Project
describes a five-year U.S. Dept. of Labor demonstration project which has established an aggressively innovative national test-bed for generating individual web-based self-employment as well as community mentoring programs, and strategic action plans.


The Second Step
After citizens have gained an overview of opportunities through the online lessons, skill-building workshops are held and electronic portfolios of existing skills are created along with a plan on which new skills are most needed. Skills workshops are then customized. 


Basic Computer Skills: A First Lesson

This online lesson serves as a skills assessment for individuals and/or mentors working with mentees to determine what skills are most important to learn next.


A Beginner’s Guide to Profiting from the Internet

The “Montana Choice” project is providing ten online lessons providing a hands-on overview of eBay, ecommerce, and telework.


Introduction to Online Auctions Like eBay

This lesson presents an overview of eBay-related self-employment solutions.

Essential Internet Ecommerce Skills
Online lessons for gaining the essential ecommerce skills.

The Third Step
Local mentors interested in developing for-profit mentoring services are identified to receive advanced training in return for mentoring others locally.


Montana Choice Mentoring Program and Mission

Peer mentoring programs will serve as the basis for helping everyone gain new skills.


The Fourth Step
The next step is engaging community leaders, with emphasis on elected leaders and K12 administrators and educators, in understanding the importance of key action strategies, youth involvement, and first steps which do not require outside funding such as;


Conduct a local web review of existing businesses
Create a local web directory and plan a co-marketing initiative

Establish a mentors roster and local skills registry

Establish an ecommerce resources portal and virtual incubator

Engage leaders in defining goals for the first small steps, and in grant-writing
for integrated common sense projects that involve citizens in meaning activities such as the following grant template:

Sustainable Ecommerce Education Development Strategies, (SEEDS)
http://lone-eagles.com/seeds.htm A community action plan which does not require outside funding.


The Power of All of US? An eBay Lesson for Community Development
A recommended first article to begin a community vision - addressing the implications for community innovation after ten years of eBay, community technology centers and community networks.


Creating People-Centered Community Knowledge Networks
A self-quiz for rural communities recommended for rural leaders as a tool to begin discussions on how best to use the Internet intelligently. Includes many community grant templates and extensive resources on community networking and grant-writing.


The Bootstrap Academy

Specific recommended short term events to raise local awareness on rural Internet innovations.


As these first small steps generate tangible benefits to the community, the visions for what more can be done will quickly grow. The challenge is to create the most significant measurable outcomes possible regarding new skills imparted to a specific number of citizens, new self-employment businesses, new web sites for existing businesses, and a community co-marketing initiative of all businesses plus a rapidly growing telework skills registry of citizen’s new skills to be co-marketed regarding telework jobs. By creating wireless training centers that serve as eBay drop off centers and ecommerce incubators, citizens have the opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial potential by beginning with the easiest online buy/sell training possible; eBay.


The Fifth Step

Review the many collaborative and multimedia features of the low-cost community systems at http://lone-eagles.com/indigenous_resources.htm to learn more about how a content management system can allow all citizens to contribute their knowledge for the benefit of all without requiring technical skills. Costs are $300 for installation and $25/month. See the Lone Eagle model which includes extensive online training resources at http://lone-eagles.knet.ca .  Plan to steadily learn more about how other communities are building collaborative capacity through informed use of the Internet to build collaborative capacity. Extensive introductions to community networking concepts, best practices, and resources are listed after the short essay and self-quiz at http://lone-eagles.com/smart.htm.


Additional Support Resources

Lone Eagle's Self-employment Incubator
Inexpensive open source content management systems can streamline the flow of essential information in rural communities and serve as the basis for online Internet entrepreneurship development. This is a model system you’re invited to explore.


Reports and Surveys on Self-employment for People with Disabilities

Extensive collected resources.


Reinventing Community Networks as Economic Development Solutions

Low-cost content management systems make it affordable to create community networks where everyone can easily share new knowledge to build community capacity for ongoing learning.


American Innovation Challenged by America’s Lose-Lose Dilemma


Recognizing our local innovators is the first step toward encouraging others.
The Idaho Ecommerce Success Stories Resources
http://lone-eagles.com/connect-idaho.htm  reflects three years of USDA-funded projects creating model awareness-raising programs in partnership with Montpelier, Idaho and the Idaho State University Special Programs Workforce Training Office.

The Rural Community Internet Empowerment Resources
http://lone-eagles.com/ruralempowerment.htm includes a key article listed first “Authenticating Rural Internet and Broadband Benefits - A Reality Check” http://lone-eagles.com/wings.htm  Written for the Australian Govt. ICT conference, Oct. ’03.


The Alaskan Native and Native American Internet Empowerment Resources
http://lone-eagles.com/alaskan-resources.htm Includes a chapter listed first which has Lone Eagle Consulting’s best Native community grant templates listed at the end. “Realizing Cultural and Community Sustainability Through Internet Innovations in Alaskan Native Villages”  http://lone-eagles.com/village-sustainability.htm  See also the best Indigenous community networking success story yet found, K-Net in Northern Canada, at http://lone-eagles.com/indigenous_resources.htm


Lone Eagle Consulting’s online graduate courses for educators
http://lone-eagles.com/teachercreated.htm Offered by Alaska Pacific University and Seattle Pacific University are described along with participants’ web-curriculum samples at


Lone Eagle Consulting’s Best Youth Resources
http://lone-eagles.com/youth.htm Includes a key youth-driven community action plan proposal being
“Sustainable Ecommerce Education Development Strategies”
(This can be conducted without funding by any rural community that wishes to do so.)


Strengthening America's Communities - Federal Initiative



Montana Economic Development - What the State Can Do...



The Power of All of Us
Article on timely rural opportunities


Canadian Rural Innovations and Resources

Rural community networking innovations from Canada


Collaborative Tools for Community-Building
http://lone-eagles.com/toolbox.htm and http://lone-eagles.com/community-tools.htm


Montana's Ecommerce Successes - A Starter Listing


Links Presented at Belgrade, MT Workshop


Emall examples and related resources