Cantwell Announces $4.2M Grant for WA Public Computer Centers

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell announced a $4.2 million grant to upgrade the capabilities and services provided by public computing centers in Washington state and to create new ones.  The EdLab Group plans on using the funds for its Communities Connect Network (CCN) project, which will establish four new public computer centers, upgrade existing centers, and increase teacher training. 


“The grant expands access to public computers and digital literacy tools, giving people in underserved communities the means to access such on-line services as job training, health information, and educational resources,” said Senator Cantwell.  “These funds will provide access to key on-line resources, empowering over 4,000 new users per week, nearly doubling the current user total.” 


“Through this funding, thousands of Washingtonians will gain access to technology training, job preparation resources, and justice information at public computing centers,” said Karen Peterson, CEO, the EdLab Group “This access and skill development is critical for social and economic participation in today’s society.  The EdLab Group (formerly the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology) is pleased to facilitate this collaboration of outstanding partners.”  


In addition to establishing four new computer centers, CCN proposes to provide GED, ESL and financial education services and partner with five rural courts to serve as computer centers where users can seek public assistance, access online legal resources, and receive help from legal volunteers.  CNN also plans on partnering with the Northwest Justice Project to provide free civil legal assistance and representation to low-income communities for legal issues impacting basic human needs, such as access to health care and education, protection of income, and housing preservation. 


CCN is a Washington state coalition of both public and private organizations working to ensure all individuals in Washington state have access to and the skills to use the Internet and other information technologies. 


This grant is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for improving broadband and legal education access.