Friday AM April 16th, 2010

A 4.5 million grant from Microsoft last year is helping the Houston Public Library provide technology access and skills to the underserved. Ed Mayberry reports.

A digital literacy and workforce preparedness effort called WeCAN Works is part of the Houston Digital Inclusion Initiative Wireless Empowered Community Access Network.  Nicole Robinson is director of Digital Inclusion for the city of Houston.

“WeCAN Works is essentially a dropout prevention GED recovery and digital literacy and workforce development initiative.  Seventy-seven percent of all of our jobs by 2014 are going to require some level of computer literacy.  The $4.5 million investment in software and digital literacy curriculum that Microsoft provided to us through the WeCAN Works grant was so essential.”

The program utliizing the grant money has been underway for a year.

“This is a public-private partnership, with the Houston Public Library being the hub.  So you’ve got Microsoft, who’s giving us the funding and the software and the curriculum to be able to make this program viable.  Houston Public Library, the city of Houston are committed to making sure that we can provide digital literacy and workforce development skills that are necessary for them to have that online access.”

The grant included $200,000 in cash and $4,300,000 in software. 

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