Penn College Helps to Deliver 'Digital Divide Training' to Nearly 1,500
Workforce Development& Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology coordinated introductory computer instruction for 1,443 people in northcentral Pennsylvania and the state's Northern Tier counties recently, providing the curriculum, instructors and instructor training for the "Digital Divide Training" initiative.
The goal of the project financed in part by a $500,000 grant provided by the U.S. Department of Public Welfare and administered by the state Department of Community and Economic Development is to increase participation of low-income people in technology and the Internet by providing training opportunities and outreach to increase skill levels.
Through the project, 24 hours of basic computer training was provided to participants in a 15-county area encompassing the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation CareerLinks, the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission CareerLinks, and the Potter County Education Council. Many of those trained reside in rural areas.
Training topics included Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and the Internet. All training activities were offered through the CareerLinks.
The training initiative covered Bradford, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union and Wyoming counties.
Instructors from other organizations supplemented the Penn College and CareerLink instructor base. Instructors from those organizations will continue the training that was delivered during the project.
The computer equipment that was purchased to facilitate the training will remain in the field to continue classes that were initiated with the grant funding.
WDCE at Penn College will continue to support the Digital Divide Training by providing area agencies with technical support for the computer hardware and software.
"This project enabled many of the workforce- and economic-development organizations in a 15-county area to combine our strengths and expertise to provide training to individuals who do not have access to basic information technology," said Candace Baran, a director of professional and community education at Penn College. "The computer training that the students received enabled them to overcome their fears and feelings of intimidation about using computers. The increase in confidence that students gained as they progressed through the training was amazing."