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WorkForce West Virginia Receives Broadband Grant

3/3/2010

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced a $1.9 million Recovery Act investment to enhance and expand public-use computers, connection speeds and wireless capabilities at 20 WorkForce West Virginia One Stop field offices across the state.

Funds will bridge the technology gap and increase economic opportunities for the unemployed or disabled, veterans, youth, older adults and low-income individuals in West Virginia.  

“High-speed Internet access is important to connecting our residents with the resources they need for job and educational opportunities, training and other vital services that are available online,” said Gov. Joe Manchin.

Although One Stop locations have existing computer equipment, most lack the resources to offer a modern computer center or the ability to provide a true broadband Internet experience.

“Broadband technology is a must-have career tool,” said Russell Fry, acting executive director for WorkForce West Virginia. “Funding will allow us to replace all of the existing computer workstations at the centers, add new workstations and serve almost 2,300 additional users per week, nearly doubling current traffic.”

WorkForce West Virginia will purchase new equipment for each center, upgrade to faster broadband connections and add video conferencing at each site. Upgrades will give clients the opportunity to improve existing skills, learn a new skill and find jobs.

This is the second grant awarded to West Virginia by the U.S. Department of Commerce for broadband development in recent weeks. Last month, a $126 million award was announced that will take the state’s technology infrastructure to a new level, particularly for the more rural parts of West Virginia.

WorkForce West Virginia is a network of work force development services designed to provide West Virginia's citizens and employers the opportunity to succeed in today’s competitive global economy. For more information, visit www.workforcewv.org or call toll free 1-800-252-JOBS (5627).

Jama L. Jarrett