Tri-Cities Nonprofits Get Help with Workforce and Technology Programs for Area Residents

EVERETT, Wash. - Programs that help local residents develop work and computer skills will benefit from $53,000 in grants from Verizon. Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, is providing the funds to five Tri-Cities nonprofit organizations.

One of the five agencies, Realizing Every Community Asset Foundation (RECA), also has been selected as Verizon's "e-training" partner for eastern Washington. Through the e-training program, Verizon scholarships enable staff members of nonprofit organizations to receive training from RECA in popular computer software as well as Web site design and using digital cameras and scanners.

The five organizations are among 18 nonprofit agencies across the state of Washington that are receiving grants totaling $123,500 from Verizon.

"Washington, like other states, faces challenging economic issues, and corporations can play a role in helping this region prosper by targeting their giving to strategic programs," said Shelia Lau, Verizon regional president. "Verizon continues to be committed to helping the communities we serve become more educated and technologically fluent. Our grants will help reduce unemployment and help disadvantaged residents increase their use of technology."

    Local grant recipients include:

  • Horizon of Sunnyside, Sunnyside -- $10,000 for the Horizon UpSkills Program expansion into Kennewick. UpSkills provides basic and intermediate computer training, English as a second language, GED preparation, life skills and employment readiness classes to prepare students to find employment. Through the UpSkills program, Horizon seeks to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, those on public assistance and displaced agricultural workers by providing them with marketable computer skills and education that can lead to employment.

  • Junior Achievement of the Greater Tri-Cities -- $2,500 for the High School Work Force Readiness Project. The grant will be used to expand an existing program to Kennewick high schools designed to inspire young people to value their education, learn about the world of work and prepare to succeed.

  • Kennewick Schools Foundation, Kennewick -- $2,500 for the Mid-Columbia Education Alliance Adopt-A-Disk Program. The grant will provide five elementary school teachers with $500 grants each to be used for technology in their classrooms. Overall, the program serves public and private schools throughout the greater Tri-City area. The project uses enhanced technology to help students in reading and math.

  • RECA Foundation, Kennewick -- $9,000 for a Portable Training Lab that will enhance RECA's on-site training for nonprofit organizations and its newly established e-training partnership with Verizon. Laptops will be purchased, along with business-productivity software, Web site and image-editing programs, file management and networking programs. Additional hardware for the lab will include a computer projector for large classrooms and a digital camera and camcorder for multimedia needs.

  • Shepherd's House, Kennewick -- $9,500 for computer hardware and software to establish a computer lab for girls. Clients of Shepherd's House are girls who are not high school graduates. Many are not proficient in English, and all need to improve their computer skills to become employable. Computers will be used for schoolwork and for identifying job opportunities. While at Shepherd's House clients may complete their high school education by graduating from Shepherd's Academy and then may start their college courses.

This year Verizon Foundation will provide more than $1 million in grants, contributions and sponsorships that focus primarily on literacy, technology development and workforce development programs in the Pacific Northwest.

Verizon Foundation is committed to helping people and communities make progress every day. The foundation supports a variety of programs that focus on improving basic and computer literacy, bridging the digital divide, enriching communities through technology and creating a skilled work force. The foundation promotes partnerships in technology with organizations serving the needs of diverse communities, people with disabilities, and the economically and socially disadvantaged. The foundation also supports Verizon Volunteers, an incentive program that encourages Verizon employees to volunteer in their communities and provides matching gifts to nonprofit organizations. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizon.com/foundation.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.0 million access line equivalents and 31.5 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and more than 236,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 35 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.