The City of Los Angeles is tackling the digital divide in its most at-risk neighborhoods. Through the Los Angeles Computer Access Network (LA CAN) project, the City’s Community Development Department, Department of Parks and Recreation and various libraries will develop or upgrade 183 public computer center sites throughout Los Angeles. Additionally, the City will purchase 2,600 new computers, in some cases, replacing those that were seven to 10 years old.
The City looked at demographic information such as high poverty and unemployment to determine where to place the new computer centers. For example, one site in the South Broadway neighborhood, originally an abandoned lot full of trash, now hosts the Chicana Services Action Center, including a 25-station public computer center and offering health screenings and job placement assistance. Approximately, one-third of the visitors to the center currently receive public assistance to take computer courses that will enable them to find work.
The LA CAN project expects to serve around 250,000 users each week, including students, job seekers, seniors, and English-as-a-second-language speakers, who use the centers to do homework, find work, learn new skills, and access other Internet-based services.