WASHINGTON, D.C. - Concerned companies, government officials and small business and consumer organizations met at the National Press Club today to kick off the Internet Learning Tutor (www.superpages.com/ilt), a free online interactive training series offered by Verizon SuperPages.com. The Internet Learning Tutor is targeted to the nearly 46 percent of Americans who are not Internet users, as well as online users who want to improve their Internet skills.
"Broad scale Internet proficiency is a myth. The reality is similar to reading illiteracy; many have learned how to get by," said Internet education author Bill Eager*, guest speaker at the luncheon. "Today, getting by does not help you with job, education or personal improvement. That's why programs such as the Internet Learning Tutor are so important."
Hosted on Verizon SuperPages.com, the leading online directory and shopping resource, the Internet Learning Tutor (Tutor) is targeted to the Americans who have access to computers but lack the training to effectively use the Internet's communications and Web site capabilities. Organizations supporting the Tutor series of interactive courses include: Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), Internet Education Foundation, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and The Welfare to Work Partnership.
"As one of the dot-com success stories, Verizon SuperPages.com believes educating consumers and small businesses on effectively and securely using the Internet must be a long-term commitment," said Patrick Marshall, group vice president-marketing, Verizon Information Services.
The Tutor emerged out of a series of hands-on Verizon Internet Learning Day programs conducted in 25 different cities since 1998. Working with local organizations such as public libraries and workforce investment boards to train more than 5,000 attendees, Verizon developed an online Internet educational curriculum.
"Along with support from our partners and feedback from users, the Internet Learning Tutor will be an ongoing source of Internet education to help small businesses market their products on the Internet, and to help consumers better navigate the Web so that they find what they want when they want it," Marshall said.
The Tutor is launching in multiple phases to provide a dynamic learning environment, beginning with Level 101, which provides basic Internet use instruction and vocabulary. Level 102, slated to launch in April 2002, will offer an in-depth lesson on search engines and using the Internet for recreational activities such as shopping and listening to music. An online marketing course targeted to small businesses will launch during the summer of 2002.
At the news conference, Marshall saluted the supporting organizations of the Internet Learning Tutor and their representatives: ASBDC Executive Director Don Wilson; Internet Education Foundation Chairman and President Jerry Berman; SCORE CEO Ken Yancey; and The Welfare to Work Partnership President and CEO Rodney Carroll.
"Internet illiteracy is a national problem that impacts education, the workplace and communications," said Eager. "The joining together of business, non-profit organizations and government officials, to support a training tool such as the Internet Learning Tutor, is key to improving Internet proficiency."
Verizon Information Services is the world's leading print and online directory publisher and a content provider for communications products and services. Verizon operates in 16 countries and has annual revenues of more than $4.3 billion. The company publishes nearly 1,200 U.S. Verizon SuperPages directories and 400 international directories with a total circulation of approximately 150 million copies worldwide.
Verizon Information Services also produces and markets SuperPages.com, the Internet's #1 online directory and shopping resource. SuperPages.com receives as many as 12 million visits and 9 million unique visitors a month. SuperPages.com also powers directory services on MSN, InfoSpace, AltaVista, Excite, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, HotBot, BigFoot, Tripod and Angelfire.
Through its signature Verizon Reads program and the Verizon Literacy Network, Verizon is committed to leading the fight to increase U.S. literacy levels by creating community and corporate awareness, raising funds, encouraging collaboration among literacy providers and engaging employees in supporting literacy programs. Verizon Information Services supports community outreach programs across the nation designed to increase the literacy rate of children and adults, and to help people of all ages become computer literate.
Based in the Dallas area, Verizon Information Services is a unit of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), one of the world's leading providers of communications services. For more information on Verizon Information Services, visit Verizon.SuperPages.com. For more information on Verizon's literacy programs, visit SuperPages.com and click on the Verizon Reads icon.
* Eager, William and C. McCall. The Complete Idiots Guide to Marketing Online. Indianapolis, In.: Que, a division of Macmillan 1999.