Expanding Access to Technology
Supported by the Recovery Act's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), the City of Milwaukee's Connecting Milwaukee Communities project - of which HACM is a part - is working to increase broadband access to economically vulnerable populations, such as at-risk children, seniors, Spanish speakers, and low-income families by focusing its efforts on areas in the city with higher poverty and unemployment rates.
By early December 2011, Connecting Milwaukee Communities opened a new public computer center and upgraded eight centers across the city. These centers are part of an expansion to increase broadband capacity and availability at sites that have historically been unable to adequately serve local residents. These upgraded centers now offer patrons new computers, training, and technology specialists to help them develop their digital literacy skills.
BTOP funds have allowed the project to deploy more than 240 laptops, serving an average of 5,902 users per week. Along with these computers, the centers provide a variety of classes covering topics such as computer basics, Internet fundamentals, word processing and spreadsheet skills, Internet search fundamentals, and online safety. The centers offer career building assistance with resume creation, job searches, and interview preparation.
The new public computer center at the Olga Village Senior Center opened on September 29, 2011. This center boasts 12 new workstations and is customized to accommodate elderly residents who are learning digital literacy skills through computer basics classes and individual trainer assistance.
By the end of the project, the City of Milwaukee will distribute approximately 270 new workstations and train as many as 10,000 city residents. To meet the needs of the city’s diverse population, the City is partnering with the Milwaukee Public Library, the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, and the United Community Center – Olga Village to provide training classes in both English and Spanish at various sites. The City of Milwaukee has also been able to hire six Library Technology Specialists, responsible for teaching classes and providing one-on-one computer help.
Reprinted from www2.ntia.doc.gov/grantee/city-of-milwaukee.
|The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee is an equal opportunity housing provider and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, handicap, lawful source of income, marital status, family status or sexual orientation.|