GTE Brings Technology to Inner-City Youth

Jackie Joyner-Kersee Youth Center Foundation receives largest corporate contribution for educational programs to sponsor technology center in East St. Louis

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. -- Hundreds of East St. Louis, Ill., children now have access to computers and computer training at the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Boys & Girls Club - thanks to a $200,000 grant from the GTE Foundation.

The funds provided by GTE will sponsor primarily the club's technology center and Project Access, a program designed to help close the "Digital Divide" for inner-city youth through computer training. The program will teach computer skills such as computer literacy, computer construction, network systems design, computer and network maintenance and Web design. Project Access classes, which will range in size from seven to 16 students, will be taught Monday through Friday in the technology center.

The GTE grant represents the largest corporate contribution for educational programs at the new Boys & Girls Club. It will include 17 computer workstations, a number of printers and video conferencing equipment. When not in use for the computer training classes, the computers will be available for personal use by the club's members, many of whom do not have access to a computer at home.

In addition to funding the technology center and Project Access, the GTE grant will also supply eight computers for the Boys & Girls Club's resource center. Members of the club may use these computers throughout the week for Internet research, homework and other educational purposes.

"This is a great opportunity for us to help make technology accessible to everyone," said Annette Jacobs, president, Ameritech Cellular, which operates through a stand-alone subsidiary of GTE and provides cellular service in the greater St. Louis, Central Illinois and greater Chicago areas. "The training we are helping to provide will benefit not only the young people directly involved, but also the community as a whole since businesses increasingly need a technology-literate workforce."

The donation continues GTE's history of supporting educational and literacy programs in the St. Louis region and comes less than five months after the company completed its $3.25 billion acquisition of approximately half of the cellular properties operated by Ameritech Corporation. GTE will be operating locally as Ameritech Cellular until it merges with Bell Atlantic, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2000. The merged company will launch a new brand name.

"With the help of sponsors like GTE, we can help the youth of East St. Louis learn computer skills and improve their education - and better compete in today's marketplace," said Lincoln Ellis, executive director, Jackie Joyner-Kersee Boys & Girls Club. "Our goal is to provide these children with all the tools they need to be productive, responsible citizens."

About the GTE Foundation

The GTE Foundation, the philanthropic arm of telecommunications provider GTE Corporation, is one of the largest corporate contributors in the United States, providing $32 million in 2000 to charitable and educational institutions on behalf of GTE and its thousands of employees. More information on GTE and the GTE Foundation is available at http://www.gte.com.

About the Jackie-Joyner-Kersee Boys & Girls Club

The vision of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Boys & Girls Club is of a safe haven where boys and girls in the Metropolitan East St. Louis community can receive support, encouragement and exposure to the vast world of possibilities that exists outside their doors. Members can enjoy the new facility while participating in programs focussing on Character & Leadership Development, Education & Career Development, the Arts, Health & Life Skills and Sports, Fitness & Recreation.

Ameritech Cellular is a trademark owned by Ameritech Corporation and used pursuant to a license from Ameritech Corporation.

# # #