Verizon Grant Provides Computer Training For Homeless Veterans

LOS ANGELES - Homeless military veterans in Los Angeles County now will have an opportunity to improve their computer skills and create resumes that will help them apply for better jobs -- thanks to a $50,000 grant from Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications.

The Verizon grant to the New Directions North Dual Diagnosis Center, a private, nonprofit residential program for homeless veterans, will provide for basic and advanced computer training that is especially designed to increase job placement opportunities for veterans. Training will be provided at the New Directions Center in West Los Angeles, which has been expanded and will open tomorrow.

"We are grateful to Verizon for its support," said Tony Reinis, executive director for New Directions. "With Verizon's assistance, we are able to add useful skills to the basic necessities so desperately needed by our veterans."

About 75 veterans will receive 40 hours of basic computer training. Training will include writing, Internet usage, computer database research, online information transmission and Microsoft PowerPoint* presentation development. More than 20 veterans are expected to participate in the advanced computer training classes this year. The advanced computer training is geared toward veterans with an aptitude for computers and includes courses in advanced Microsoft Word*, Microsoft Excel*, Microsoft Outlook* and PowerPoint presentation. Technical trainers will teach all classes, and Verizon employees have volunteered to wire the computers in the new building.

"Computer literacy is vital for jobs in the 21st century, and this grant will help a number veterans enhance their marketability in the workforce," said Tim McCallion, Verizon Pacific Region president. "By investing in the communities we serve with grants like this one, Verizon is working to improve literacy, strengthen workplace skills and narrow the digital divide."

New Directions provides housing, drug treatment, food, clothing, job training, money management classes, and job placement to thousands of homeless veterans. Some veterans receive long-term support in transitional housing in its 156-bed facility.

The new 60,000-square-foot building is located on the grounds of the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration. News Directions' expanded services will focus on treating homeless veterans who are dually diagnosed for drug rehabilitation and mental illness.

Military veterans represent nearly one-third of homeless men who seek shelter, according to a 1997 study conducted by the International Union of Gospel Missions, a network of rescue missions. In Los Angeles County, there are approximately 27,000 homeless veterans.

Verizon 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 on the Internet.

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 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.


*Registered trademark of Microsoft.