Oregon Work Force Development and Technology Projects To Be Funded By Verizon

BEAVERTON, Ore. - Work force development programs that promote economic growth and jobs and technology projects that increase the capabilities of charitable agencies in Oregon are receiving grants totaling more than $115,000 from Verizon Foundation.

The one-year grants will go to 14 educational institutions and community-based nonprofit groups in the Portland area, Salem, Coos Bay and Wallowa County. Verizon Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, the nation's largest local telecommunications provider.

The grants will be presented Oct. 8 at a Westside Economic Alliance business forum sponsored by Verizon in Beaverton. State Treasurer Randall Edwards will be the featured speaker. Awards will range from $5,000 to $15,000, with Portland Community College receiving the largest grant for a literacy project benefiting Hispanics in Washington County.

"Work force development and technology advancement are keys to economic stimulus in the Northwest," said John Gustafson, Verizon external affairs director. "Verizon is committed to ensuring that our region has a diverse, competitive work force and the technological tools to move our economy forward."

In February, nonprofit and educational organizations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho were invited to compete for the Verizon grants by submitting proposals outlining work force development and technology programs.

Major grants awarded by the company in Oregon:

  • Business Education Compact, Beaverton -- $10,000 for a project to provide career planning assistance, pre-employment training and business internships to Native American youth, encouraging them to finish high school and pursue careers.

  • Concordia University, Portland -- $10,000 to underwrite technological tools for the university's distance learning program. Tools include Web-based help-desk software, advanced multimedia resources and online learner survivor kits.

  • Mt. Hood Community College, Gresham -- $9,175 for a program using workshops and job shadowing to encourage Hispanic youth to pursue careers in nursing. The grant will also pay for additional teaching aids for the college's nursing lab.

  • Oregon Children's Theatre (OCT), Portland -- $5,000 toward an information technology system that will enable OCT staff to upgrade their educational and marketing efforts and to create an interactive Web site to improve public access to OCT learning resources that promote literacy.

  • Oregon Independent College Foundation, Portland -- $10,000 to provide George Fox University (Newberg), Linfield College (McMinnville) and the University of Portland with enhanced educational tools for Asian students, including online resources and multimedia materials.

  • Oregon Korean Community Center, Beaverton -- $5,000 to establish Internet classes for Korean seniors in their native language.

  • Oregon Native American Entrepreneurial Network, Tigard -- $9,284 for Web site expansion to help Native Americans start and sustain small businesses. Entrepreneurs will use the site for information, training and marketing.

  • Portland Community College -- $15,000 to establish a "PCC ELATED" program at Centro Cultural in Cornelius. The program will enable Hispanics in western Washington County to use technology to improve their English language skills and acquire computer skills necessary for employment.

  • Portland State University Foundation -- $10,000 to support Saturday Academy's "AWSEM" program, which inspires middle and high school girls to pursue careers in science, engineering, mathematics and technology. Verizon funds will underwrite after-school science clubs in Beaverton and other parts of the Portland area.

  • Salvation Army, Coos Bay -- $7,500 to provide software, supplies and other resources to the organization's computer lab. Students use the lab extensively after school to learn new computer skills and complete their homework. Many of the students are from low-income families that do not have a computer at home.

  • Sherwood Family YMCA -- $7,500 for an "Intergenerational Technology" program in which teens will teach computer skills to seniors, thus promoting better understanding between the age groups.

  • United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Salem -- $7,000 for database software that will enable the organization to increase its donor base and the number of people it can serve in Marion and Polk counties.

  • United Way of Yamhill County, McMinnville -- $6,000 to upgrade the organization's computers, server and software to improve staff efficiency and free up employees for additional fund-raising activities.

  • Wallowa County Business Facilitation, Joseph -- $5,000 for an economic development program providing free and confidential business mentoring to entrepreneurs wishing to create or expand business in Wallowa County.

  • Overall this year in the Pacific Northwest, Verizon is donating about $1 million in grants, contributions and sponsorships that focus primarily on literacy, technology, economic development and work force development programs. Earlier this year, the company awarded $115,000 to Oregon nonprofits for literacy initiatives.

    Nationally, Verizon Foundation last year awarded 22,000 grants totaling more than $70 million to charitable and nonprofit agencies that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, enriching communities through technology, and creating a skilled work force. The foundation uses its resources in the United States and abroad to develop partnerships in technology and connect them with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, victims of domestic violence and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that last year encouraged Verizon employees to volunteer more than 500,000 hours in their communities and provided $27.8 million in combined contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

    Verizon Communications

    A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.