ROANE ALLIANCE

We plan and implement strategies for the controlled growth of Roane County’s economy as a unified voice representing the best Tennessee has to offer businesses, citizens and travelers.

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ROANE ECD

We bring growth-oriented businesses with strong fiscal discipline, infrastructure and workforce-ready people to East Tennessee.

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ROANE TOURISM

We attract travelers who seek unique heritage and the best outdoor recreational experiences to Roane County.

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ROANE CHAMBER

We connect leaders and organizations for the benefit of local and regional business growth.

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EDUCATION MATTERS

We empower leaders, parents and students to invest in education, so they are better prepared to fulfill the workforce opportunities of Roane County’s future.

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RETIRE ROANE

We offer natural beauty, historic charm and low-cost living, distinguishing Roane County as one of the best retirement destinations in the nation.

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Communities Connect for Student Internet Access Solutions

August 4, 2020

Instead of expecting more from overburdened schools, local communities are striving to help provide solutions. CONNECT Roane is a community-based volunteer-run program in support of Roane County Schools with a twofold purpose: create an emergency plan for providing internet access to students and a broader goal of providing broadband access to all Roane County households.

The CONNECT Roane initiative is based on a similar program in Knox County called eKnox. Throughout the summer, both groups have met to discuss the need to provide students with the means to continue learning should schools be closed for the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to adopt new models for virtual and in-school learning.

Robust, reliable, and affordable broadband access is a barrier to roughly 30 percent of households in Roane County. With approximately 6,300 Roane County School students and several hundred homeschooled students, we need to work together towards removing this barrier. We believe that with all students having broadband access, our communities will be positively influenced by better health, education, and employment outcomes in the short-term, which leads to economic prosperity for future generations.

There are five communities within the CONNECT Roane program: CONNECT Harriman, CONNECT Kingston, CONNECT Midway, CONNECT Oliver Springs, CONNECT Rockwood. Each community contains related district schools and home schools. Each community has a volunteer Navigator to be the key contact of that community effort and a team of volunteers who live or work in that community. Becky Ruppe (becky.ruppe@cityofrockwood.com) is the Navigator for CONNECT Rockwood. Andrea Hinds (anditomhinds@yahoo.com) for CONNECT Kingston, Dayle Beyer (dayle@daylebeyer.com) for CONNECT Harriman. Scott Mason (smason@roaneschools.com) for CONNECT Midway. We need a Navigator and volunteers for CONNECT Oliver Springs.

If you believe in your community, please help by joining your community group or donating to the CONNECT Roane gofundme page, https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/connect-roane. We need donations for printing flyers and other communications tools to let parents/guardians know about the various ways to get internet access.

CONNECT Roane champions are the Roane County Chamber (roanechamber.com) community development committee and ROANEnet (roanenet.org), a non-profit 501(c)(3) advocate for affordable, robust and reliable high-speed internet access, equitable availability of digital devices and digital literacy skills training. Please contact ROANEnet for more information about CONNECT Roane at info@ROANEnet.org