(Seattle, WA) Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced Monday that 24 Seattle community organizations will receive a total of $300,000 in Technology Matching Fund grants. This money will enable services for more than 15,000 residents throughout the city, build technology skills for employment and healthcare using ESL software to teach English to new residents, as well as teach social media and online civic engagement skills.  The grant funds will also increase access for people with disabilities and also provide youth with positive alternatives to violence by teaching new media journalism skills and providing after-school homework help.

(Seattle, WA) Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council announced Monday that 24 Seattle community organizations will receive a total of $300,000 in Technology Matching Fund grants. This money will enable services for more than 15,000 residents throughout the city, build technology skills for employment and healthcare using ESL software to teach English to new residents, as well as teach social media and online civic engagement skills.  The grant funds will also increase access for people with disabilities and also provide youth with positive alternatives to violence by teaching new media journalism skills and providing after-school homework help.

In addition to basic computing and Internet applications, participants will be building their skills in assistive technologies, audio, video, and digital arts. MIT Scratch, robotics, 3D programming instruction, audio production recording for the blind, video production software, a thermal Braille machine, and mobile laptop labs are some of the technology tools to be used in the projects.  Five projects will focus on serving people with disabilities, 18 will serve youth, 12 will serve seniors, five will work with specific immigrant and refugee populations.

“These grants reflect our commitment to bridging the digital divide in Seattle.  Further, the priorities formed through the Youth and Families Initiative guide our support for these programs,” said Mayor Mike McGinn.

The Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB) recommended these digital inclusion projects to the Mayor and Council through an open competitive application process. Grant recipients will match the city’s dollars with over $506,825 in community contributions, including volunteer labor, professional services and donated equipment and software.

“A lot of the refugees who are coming here have lived in places with no electricity and all the sudden they’re expected to find jobs and need to use computers to find community resources,” said Pwint Htun of the Coalition for Refugees from Burma.  “We’ll be using this $15,000 from the Technology Matching Fund to buy and use laptops with Internet to go teach the community literacy training in languages that are accessible and understandable to these refugees.”

“This matching fund represents for our neighborhood the elements that are going to tie the neighborhood together in a way it hasn’t been tied together before,” said Gregory Davis of the Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition.

To read more about the 2010 projects, visit http://seattle.gov/tech/tmf.

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