Huston-Tillotson College Partners with Texas Railroad Commission to Bridge Digital Divide
The president of historically Black Huston-Tillotson College and the chairman of the Texas Railroad Commission have announced an initiative to deploy digital network technologies to train and employ low-income residents of East Austin. The initiative is known as “Digital Connections: A Railroad Commission/Huston-Tillotson College (HTC) Partnership.” It establishes a model for cooperation between a large state agency and a historically Black college to increase access to valuable oil and gas records and to reduce economic disparities associated with the digital divide through technology skill training, employment and business development opportunities.
Presently, access to public information on Texas oil and gas wells is difficult to achieve because of the enormous volume of paper records, multiple retrieval systems and its physical location in Austin. The proposed solution targets the available work force in a minority community to help develop a public information system.
“The availability of more information in the exploration and production process reduces risk for producers, enhances exploration and production decisions, and increases discovery of new oil and gas reserves,” says Texas Railroad commission chairman Michael L. Williams. “Beneficial for low-income residents in East Austin communities, the project provides job flexibility for residents and contributes to economic and community growth.”
A computer training facility will be hosted by HTC’s Community Engagement Center, which is on the perimeter of the HTC campus. The HTC staff will recruit residents from East Austin communities. The residents will be trained in aspects of the oil and gas industry, data entry necessary for document indexing and the development of business and work force skills.
“This is a partnership that allows the college to serve the surrounding community by providing technology resources and staff expertise to those who seek to gain computer skills, improve their marketability and advance in the workplace,” says Dr. Larry L. Earvin, president of Huston-Tillotson College.
Once the project is complete, Texas residents, using a PC, standard Web-based browser and Internet access, will be able to retrieve valuable oil and gas information.
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