CHICAGOIllinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced the awarding of a more than $43,000 technology grant as part of his Opportunity Returns strategy for job creation in the northern stateline region. The Eliminate the Digital Divide program funds technology centers in low-income communities to provide technology skills training and access to computers and the Internet. This program provides the critical skills that employees will need to succeed in todays high-tech workplace.
One of the most important things I can do as governor is to work to provide genuine economic opportunity to all people across Illinois, Blagojevich said. The technology divide represents a fundamental lack of opportunity and a real barrier to quality education and quality employment. By supporting grassroots programs like this one that address this inequality at the community level, were empowering people in under-served communities to pursue their academic goals and position themselves for better-paying jobs and more fulfilling careers. That is economic opportunity in its purest form.
Comprehensive Community Solutions Inc. (CCS) received more than $43,000 to expand its current technology training and Youth Build program, which offers basic computer skills and Internet access for the general public, advanced vocational skills training for disconnected youth leading to employment, and small business technology training and support. The agency is serving 300 at-risk youth (ages 16-24), residents, and small business owners in north and southwest Rockford.
Gov. Blagojevichs Opportunity Returns program is all about investing in the regions greatest assets and giving them the capacity to act as engines of economic growth, said Rockford Mayor Doug Scott. Providing computer skills training and Internet access to students who would otherwise lack these critical resources is an investment in the promise and potential of our areas youth, and theres no greater asset or key to our regions future than that.
In addition to providing basic technology skills training, grant recipients can provide a variety of technology-related services, including the following:
Access to career information, employment opportunities, and related Internet job searches;
Computerized instruction in basic literacy skills, GED preparation, and English as a Second Language instruction, including distance-learning options;
Professional development opportunities related to technology for teachers;
Before- and after-school technology programs for students; and
Promotion of home access to computers.
DCEO Director Jack Lavin said: The digital divide is still far too prevalent across this country, and here at home in Illinois as well. This grant to Comprehensive Community Solutions reflects Gov. Blagojevichs priority of making sure all communities across Illinois have access to the educational resources that are most essential to competing for good-paying jobs and a better quality of life. With every project we support to narrow the digital divide, we continue to expand economic opportunity.