Macon Community Center Recognized For Technology Accessibility

Goodwill Industries International
Thursday, 19 June 2003

Goodwill Industries of Middle Georgia (Macon) opened the City Cyber Center in November 2001 when the City of Macon approached them about its commitment to make technology a priority for its citizens. Goodwill's proven record of bridging the digital divide and helping Macon citizens achieve career success attracted city officials.

The community technology center is a 24-station computer classroom and 12-station career resource center. "The goal was to put state-of-the-art machines in the public's hands that couldn't afford (them)," says Thomas Tourand, Information Technologies Officer for the city. The center is located within the Macon Goodwill's Downtown One-Stop Career Center. It offers an introduction to computers and the Internet, as well as sliding-scale, fee-for-service classes in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Knight Foundation grants help Goodwill staff the Cyber Center and provide a van to transport students from low-income communities.

Goodwill aired public service announcements and distributed fliers to businesses, churches and the one-stop center to combat the program's initial challenge of marketing its services to a population without much prior knowledge or access to technology. In 2002, over 400 people received formal computer training at the City Cyber Center and more than 1,000 took advantage of the center's resources for job search and tutorial programs, at a program cost of $62 per consumer.

"Today's entry-level positions require some sort of knowledge and access to computers and technology," says George W. Kessinger, President and CEO Goodwill Industries International, Inc. "Goodwill recognizes this need and works to tailor its programs and centers to the meet the needs of employers through a well-trained and skillful workforce." The Technology Connections Award is presented to the Macon Goodwill for its dedication and ability to identify appropriate technology needs for people and communities with disadvantages.

For more information, or to contact Goodwill Industries International, see their website at: www.goodwill.org

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