The broadband stimulus program wasn't created just to deploy broadband in underserved rural areas ߝ it was also designed to create education centers to help train more people in how to use the Web.
There has been a particular need for such centers in cities such as Lowell, Mass., where many people have lost their jobs in the manufacturing industry and are now looking to change their careers. Shannon Robichaud, the director of education and training at the non-profit Community Teamwork Inc. (CTI), says many workers who have had the same jobs for a long time simply had no idea how important computers and the Internet have become to finding a new job."I've had people who have worked on machine their whole lives and they're coming in to learn the basics,” she says. "To even apply for any kind of job nowadays you have to go online."
Lowell became a testing ground for broadband adoption and education programs earlier this year when the University of Massachusetts in Lowell won a $783,000 grant to build 11 public computer centers in and around the city. The grant was awarded as part of the $4 billion in broadband stimulus funding released by the government last year.
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