Thursday, April 29, 2010


The Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) and growing numbers of nonprofit organizations are working alongside libraries to overcome the digital divide by offering computer classes and computer labs. They realize that many people are looking for jobs and finding that the process requires computer skills they don't have and computers and internet access they can't afford. Community technology centers can be found in libraries, nonprofits, workforce centers, schools, neighborhood centers, parks, churches, synagogues and mosques.

As part of a panel discussion, several representatives from these organizations talked about the services they provide:

  • Project for Pride in Living offers 30 minute one-on-one sessions, classes about specific jobs, employment help, informational classes such as explaining Facebook. They even send social workers out with laptops their clients can use.

  • The Pillsbury Foundation has an employment-oriented computer center.

  • Nexus Community Partners, which has an office on the East Side of St. Paul and created the Beehive website to help people find services they need, has started offering computer classes.

The Technology Literacy Collaborative is a new initiative that includes representatives from all these groups, including libraries. Their web page is under construction, but they plan to offer information on best practices and curricula for teaching technology literacy. They are working on a database of all community technology centers on the Twin Cities to replace this one, which is a bit out of date.

Handouts for this panel should be appearing in the FYI basket soon.


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