Programs put PCs in communities across the county
San Diego County families who don't have financial resources or a computer in
the home will find they needn't travel too far this summer to cross the
There are more than 100 Community Technology Centers around the county, places
where for little or no charge, people can learn about computers and how to use
And the sooner they get there, the better.
Next year, the federal government is planning to end financial support of the
Department of Education's Community Technology Centers program, which provides
computer training to those in urban and rural areas around the country. The
program began in 1999.
Also, the Department of Commerce is planning to end its Technology
Opportunities Program, which has been used to help organizations that now
serve low-income and minority populations.
In San Diego, some of the Community Technology Center funding has gone to Boys
& Girls Clubs, local universities and nonprofit groups such as the
Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty of San Diego and the
Nationally, a group of legislators and more than 75 civil rights, public
interest, education, health and labor organizations recently formed the
Digital Empowerment Coalition to oppose cutbacks to the federal programs. (To
learn more, see: http://www.digitalempowerment.org )
"It should be our mandate as legislators to ensure that no one in this country
is left behind, especially as opportunities to expand on state-of-the-art
technology continue to grow," said Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who supports
continued funding for the CTC and TOP programs.
In addition to the federally funded centers, San Diego has also been on the
receiving end of donations for such programs.
The two primary donors are the Waitt Family Foundation (as in Gateway CEO Ted
Waitt), and PowerUP, a national technology endowment group that includes the
Waitt foundation, AOL Time Warner, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems.
The San Diego Regional Technology Alliance and the all-volunteer Community
Technology Group are among the groups that help out with these local efforts
– "They are awesome," says Al Panico, director of grants for the Waitt
There are now 25 PowerUP Technology Centers in San Diego County. Each center
has 15 to 20 computers (Gateways, natch). That brings the total of community
technology centers to 125.
Last week, the foundation added a helpful tool to its Web site
(http://www.waittfoundation.org ) for families trying to find a center close to
where they live.
At the site, click on "Find a San Diego Community Technology Center." You can
then search by ZIP code, or by clicking on the map of the county, to find the
center nearest to you.
If you don't have Internet access, you can call the foundation at (858)
A sampling of sites
Among the locations of the PowerUP sites are:
- Boys & Girls Clubs in San Diego, Oceanside, Escondido and San Marcos
- YMCAs in Mount Hope, North Park and Valencia Park
- Hoover High School in City Heights
- Barrio Logan College Institute
- Casa Familiar in San Ysidro
- Urban Corps, downtown San Diego
- Lesbian and Gay Men's Community Center in Hillcrest
- Southern Health Services in Campo
Written by Suzanne Choney: (619) 293-2226; firstname.lastname@example.org