Joint press release issued on July 23, 2012:
Grants increase technology training to help residents with education, job skills, and civic engagement
SEATTLE – Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced today that 23 community organizations will receive a total of $320,000 in Technology Matching Fund grants. The funds will increase computer and Internet training for our most vulnerable residents as well as helping them with basic education, job training, and access to health and other essential services.
These grants are part of the City’s overall broadband effort to encourage digital inclusion for all (or broadband adoption), fiber to the home and business, a technology-skilled workforce, and local applications development. Participants will gain skills in using social media, assistive technologies, audio and video production, and digital storytelling, in addition to basic computer and Internet skills.
“These grants reflect our commitment to bridging the digital divide in Seattle. Further, the priorities formed through the Youth and Families Initiative guides our support for these programs,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “Our libraries and community computer labs have seen a huge increase in demand from the unemployed and families in need. These Technology Matching Fund projects will provide crucial support to families and help ensure neighbors have the same economic, participation and education opportunities as those of who already have access and use technology tools all day long.”
“The Technology Matching Fund is a critical partnership between the city and the community by maximizing resources to ensure that all of our residents have the tools to increase their technology skills, improve their English and literacy skills, and receive employment and business skills for the job market,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell. “The City provides funding assistance to underrepresented communities, but the community’s support of $520,000 to help bridge the digital divide is highly commendable. This inclusive program is mutually beneficial to us all.”
The Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) recommended these digital inclusion projects to the Mayor and Council through an open competitive application process. Grant recipients are required to match the city’s funding through cash, donations of hardware, software, supplies and labor. While a one-to-one match is required; the community contribution is often greater than the city’s support, and this year’s grantees will match the city’s dollars with over $520,000 in community contributions.
The grants support projects serving a wide range of neighborhoods in Seattle. Barton Place Apartments, located in Rainier Beach, is receiving a $14,658 grant to set up a mini computer lab in their SHA housing building. Resident Sydney Koerber said that having access to a computer “is a dream come true. I’m over 60 years old and I want to get my GED. It’s never too late to learn.”
Grants will also help support families. Tony Benton, working with Atlantic Street Center, is excited to receive $19,770 to help parents of young children, “a vital group that is digitally excluded,” he said. “If a parent doesn’t know how to use a computer and understand the value of it, the child starts out falling behind,” said Benton. “This grant will help not only reach parents of small children, but also grandparents and seniors who are going through the parenting process,” he said.
The Technology Matching Fund is managed by the Department of Information Technology’s Community Technology Program and was established in 1997 to support the community’s efforts to close the digital divide and encourage the use of information technologies for civic engagement. Since its beginning the fund has contributed over $2 million to more than 200 projects. The fund furthers the city’s commitment to education, inclusion, and race and social justice. For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/tech or contact email@example.com.
See a list of 2012 projects at http://seattle.gov/tech/tmf/Projects2012.htm.
See a map of 2012 TMF grantees at http://goo.gl/maps/IXv7