The City of Boston is combining digital literacy training with access to computers, the Internet, and software to help residents of the city’s lowest-income and lowest broadband adoption areas. The City’s goal is to provide 627 new computers and job training software at 48 locations including 15 community centers, 11 Boston Housing Authority (BHA) sites, and 22 libraries. Future computer centers will feature similar software as well as programs geared toward health education. Computers at local library branches will also provide literacy training and email access.
The new computer center at the Mildred Avenue Community Center in Mattapan, Mass., is a good example of the City’s efforts. The Community Center has 15 new state-of-the-art desktops and fiber-optic cable, allowing visitors to surf the Internet on the city’s new broadband network. The new desktops also feature cutting edge software allowing participants to gain basic work skills online, study for the state’s standards-based assessment program, and access multimedia to produce videos and other art.
When the City of Boston project is complete, nearly 18,000 people a week will be able to access broadband Internet as well as software designed for various subject matters, including workforce development, after-school education, and gang intervention-conflict resolution workshops. This project is made possible from funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration.