For Release 10:00 AM
Tuesday, August 24, 1999
Contact: Morrie Goodman
 202-482-4883
Mary Hanley, 202-482-2075
Mhanley@ntia.doc.gov
 


US COMMERCE SECRETARY WILLIAM DALEY JOINS CITY AND BUSINESS LEADERS TO ANNOUNCE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS DIGITAL DIVIDE

Secretary Daley Reinforces Administration's New Markets Initiatives for Underserved Communities in visit to D.C. Urban League Technology Training Center

Washington, DC - Commerce Secretary William Daley announced today that he will convene a national meeting this fall to address the information technology gap that exists across the country as highlighted in a recent Department report. Daley called for a serious dialogue among major technology companies, civil rights organizations, civic leaders, and community groups about how to bridge the digital divide in underserved communities.

"The best way to bring inner cities back to life is for government and business, educators and community leaders to work together," Daley said. "We must close the digital divide, and bring along all who have not shared in the boom of the late 1990s," he said at the Greater Washington Urban League Technology Center in northeast Washington, where he appeared with Washington Mayor Anthony Williams and representatives of the AT&T Foundation and Microsoft.

Secretary Daley highlighted the Urban League center as a model for other communities and applauded the commitment of Microsoft and AT&T to dedicate their resources to addressing the digital divide in D.C. "Cooperative projects like this center and the commitment of our corporate leaders to partner with groups like the Urban League are the kinds of actions that will close the gap," Daley said. These companies are among the many who have embraced President Clinton's New Markets Initiative that seeks to ensure that all Americans are prepared for the transition to an information-based world economy.

AT&T and the National Urban League announced that the Greater Washington Urban League will receive one of three AT&T digital campus grants. The Urban League plans to use the AT&T grant to establish a new technology training center in Southeast D.C. A portion of these funds will also enhance the training facility at the Urban League's Northeast center.

"This critical investment in the District of Columbia is another step forward in ensuring that all children and adults have access to computer technology," said Esther Silver-Parker, President of the AT& T Foundation. AT&T also announced the publication of a new resource guide that will help communities integrate technology into the learning process of community technology centers.

Microsoft announced that it would supply state-of-the-art software for the technology center. "Closing the digital divide is one of the greatest challenges we face going into the 21st century and Microsoft remains committed to working with the Department of Commerce, community leaders and our industry partners to help bridge this divide," said Jack Krumholtz, director of federal government affairs for Microsoft.

The gathering at the Greater Washington Urban League Technology Training Center exemplifies the spirit of the Administration's New Markets Initiative which is designed to bring American investors to communities in need. The initiative recognizes that neither government nor business can do it alone. As President Clinton said during his New Markets tour: "When government provides the conditions and tools, acts as a catalyst to bring the power of the private sector to benefit all of our citizens, and provides the investment and the education and training of our young people, this is not only good economics, it is the right thing to do."

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