WASHINGTON – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today, joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, announced a $4.7 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) investment to help bridge the technological divide and increase economic opportunities in Clark County, Nevada. The grant will upgrade or open a total of 29 public computer centers in public housing developments and community and senior centers, as well as provide computer skills classes, job training and certification programs, and support community health programs through local partner organizations.
The investment will allow the Las Vegas-Clark County Urban League, in partnership with the City of Las Vegas and the Housing Authority of the County of Clark, to expand broadband access for vulnerable populations by replacing approximately 100 computer workstations and adding more than 90 new ones. As a result, the centers will nearly triple the number of users served per week to nearly 5,000, expanding access to interactive and online job search tools, and training in both English and Spanish.
"This critical investment will expand computer and high-speed Internet service access to Nevada residents most in need, helping to make them full participants in today's 21st century information economy," Locke said. "Having access to the Internet's economic, health and educational benefits will help to improve the quality of life in these communities."
The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the Recovery Act, provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
Public housing developments, community, and senior centers provide important services for southern Nevadans and thanks to these economic recovery funds they will be expanded," Reid said. "I appreciate Secretary Locke making these funds available for Nevadans who rely on the computer classes, health programs and job training programs at these centers."
NTIA received more than 1,800 applications proposing projects totaling nearly $19 billion during the first BTOP funding round and is currently awarding grants on a rolling basis. NTIA is currently accepting BTOP applications through March 15, 2010 for a second round of funding.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion for grants to deploy broadband infrastructure in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. NTIA will announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.