Penn Students Help to Bridge Digital Divide
Nonprofit organizations in West Philadelphia are getting help from the University of Pennsylvania to remain up to date with computer technology. A grant from the Corporation for National Service is supporting two full-time coordinators to implement computer training and to distribute hardware and software to community churches and high schools. A three-year $171,000 grant, which took effect Jan. 1, has allowed the Center for Community Partnerships at Penn to hire employees for the project, titled “Bridging the Digital Divide.” The project is also staffed by 40 volunteers who repair computers, install refurbished computers, provide training and maintenance support, and teach computer literacy throughout West Philadelphia. Penn is one of seven universities to receive the grant.
The Center for Community Partnerships is working with Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Department of Information Systems and Computing to collect and distribute usable computers to the local nonprofits, churches and schools.
At University City High School in Philadelphia, which has a computer lab, Penn volunteers are providing an evening job-training program. Through the engineering school, 12 student groups are involved in an array of volunteer initiatives. The students offer computer support to local schools and organizations that lack the resources to adequately maintain their information technology systems.
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