The jungle book

Four fellows placed in Illinois to improve digital literacy and broadband access


PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Lead for America (LFA) and Heartland Forward have announced the placement of four members of the American Connection Corps (ACC) in Illinois.

These fellows will work to increase broadband access and digital literacy and contribute to critical community development initiatives in the Chicagoland area, Metro East, Quad Cities and Greater Peoria.

“Lead For America’s mission is to educate a generation of civic leaders dedicated to fighting the
most difficult challenges facing the communities they call home and we are delighted to bring our
Hometown Fellowship model for communities in Illinois, from Peoria counties to Mercer counties,
This year. The coronavirus pandemic
underlined the importance of both leadership and bridging the digital divide in rural and
urban communities across America. We are honored to partner with Land O’Lakes and the
other partners of the American Connection Corps by placing 50 dynamic and locally rooted leaders in
the communities and places that helped raise them. We are committed to ensuring this
the initiative becomes a path for outstanding Illinoisians for many years to come.

Joe Nail, CEO and Co-Founder of Lead For America

Peoria’s mate is Grace Clucas. She graduated in 2021 from Saint Mary’s College, where she earned a double major in political science and history and was an active leader in student groups on campus including Student Government and Model UN. In her role as a Fellow, Grace will provide digital navigation and technical knowledge to support the community in tandem with local partner organizations and conduct outreach activities with local educational institutions to help them leverage the Connectivity Fund of ’emergency.

“The Greater Peoria Economic Development Council (GPEDC) views the expansion of broadband access, affordability and utilization as integral to our development strategy,” said Casey Peterson, director of outreach and rural development at Greater Peoria EDC. “With the addition of Grace to our team, we will be able to significantly expand our broadband development and digital inclusion efforts in the five counties we serve. The GPEDC is delighted to be among the first organizations to welcome an American Connection Corp Fellow.

For general information on ACC, please visit:


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