BALTIMORE, MD - A community technology center will officially open early next year at the Baltimore Urban League on Orchard Street with the aid of grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Bell Atlantic Foundation.
A $650,000 grant through NTIA's Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) partially matches a $1 million Bell Atlantic Foundation grant to establish inner-city technology centers in partnership with National Urban League affiliates throughout the northeast.
TIIAP provides matching grants to nonprofit organizations and state and local government entities for innovative projects that demonstrate the benefits and practical applications of telecommunications and information technology, while extending their reach to underserved communities.
"We started this unique, extremely competitive program in 1994 as part of our vision to have an advanced National Information Infrastructure that reaches all Americans," said Commerce Secretary William Daley. "TIIAP is helping us realize that vision by serving as a catalyst. It is bringing together the public and private sectors to figure out how to realize the potential that the Internet and other new telecommunications technologies offer."
The National Urban League's Technology Access Center in Baltimore will provide public access to information technology as a means of delivering and enhancing existing educational and employment support programs. New offerings will include online training in word processing, database management, spreadsheet applications and the Internet. Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) preparation and resume writing courses, which have traditionally been instructor-led, will shift to self-study, computer-based training -- affording students of all ages more hands-on experience with personal computers.
The TIIAP grant expands on Bell Atlantic's support for similar Urban League technology access centers in Boston, Mass., and Binghamton and White Plains, NY. The four centers will be linked via a Wide Area Network.
"Our partnership with Bell Atlantic to build these community technology centers supports our mission, which is to help African Americans and other urban poor obtain social and economic equality," said Hugh B. Price, president of the National Urban League. "Knowledge of emerging technologies enhances the opportunities available to members of our community to compete and succeed in a new global economy. We are very grateful to Bell Atlantic for making these centers possible and stimulating our drive to lead all of our affiliate organizations into the information age."
The state-of-the-art technology center announced today will be equipped for a range of uses. It will include networked computer workstations with access to the Internet and other information services for online research and programs. The sites also will allow for video conferencing and distance learning.
"We are excited that our corporate support of the National Urban League's technology initiative has attracted the support of the U.S. Department of Commerce and created the possibility for a center in Baltimore," said Sherry F. Bellamy, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic-Maryland. She announced a supplemental grant of $25,000 targeted toward supporting the Baltimore Urban League's welfare to work programs at the technology center.
"Access to technology is critical for the future development of our community and its participation in our national and global economies," said Bellamy. "The National Urban League is a dynamic leader in the nationwide effort to provide access to the vast universe of information and prepare urban communities for the future challenges of our world."
Founded in 1910, the National Urban League is the premier social service and civil rights organization in America. The mission of the league is to help African Americans and other urban poor achieve social and economic parity. The League has affiliates in 114 cities, 34 states and the District of Columbia. For more information on the National Urban League, visit www.nul.org on the Internet.
Established in 1994, the Telecommunications Information and Infrastructure Assistance Program (TIIAP) is a highly-competitive, merit-based grant program that brings the benefits of an advanced national information infrastructure to communities throughout the United States. TIIAP is administered by the United States Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Information about TIIAP, including descriptions of the grants the program has awarded and information about how to apply for 1998 funds, is available on the NTIA Home Page at http://www.ntia.doc.gov.
The Bell Atlantic Foundation administers all domestic and international philanthropic grants on behalf of Bell Atlantic. The Foundation's philanthropic emphasis is on providing safe havens for youth and grants to technology and education, arts and human services.