COLUMBUS – Connect Ohio is pleased to announce Putnam County District Library is a partner in the statewide Every Citizen Online broadband training project. Connect Ohio distributed 8 new HP Omni desktop computers to library director Kelly Ward Tuesday
“These computers will be replacing old public computers throughout the county,” said Kelly Ward, library director. “This otherwise wouldn’t have been possible after budget cuts and a levy failure.”
The Every Citizen Online program recently received $6.9 million in federal funding, as well as more than $3 million in assistance and contributions from a number of participating entities across the state, to increase the sustainable adoption of broadband services for more than 200,000 state residents. Free computer training sessions will be provided at public libraries and community colleges throughout Ohio to introduce new users to a wide range of communication, education, and healthcare tools available online. Interested adults throughout Ohio are eligible to participate in the program, which is geared toward first-time computer and broadband users.
Putnam County District Public Libraries are providing the self-paced training online at their multiple branch locations.
The coursework includes three sessions covering computer basics, an introduction to the Internet, and discussions about how broadband can be helpful in daily life.
“This is an incredibly exciting program for Ohio. Currently, just 66% of Ohio households subscribe to broadband service, leaving more than three million Ohioans on the wrong side of the digital divide,” Connect Ohio Executive Director Tom Fritz said. “The Every Citizen Online program is an opportunity to close the gap between those who have computer technology at home and those who do not, preparing state residents without high-speed Internet for a technologically-driven society.”
Connect Ohio is a non-profit public-private partnership, whose mission is to see all Ohioans connected to the benefits of high-speed Internet service. Through the Every Citizen Online program, Connect Ohio is assisting libraries and community colleges with the cost of instructors, computers, and public awareness to provide training to as many as 200,000 new users over the next two years.
Other partners in the program include the State Library of Ohio, The Ohio Association of Broadcasters, The Ohio Public Television Stations, Ohio Public Radio, Groundwork Group, the Ohio Public Library Information Network, and a wide variety of libraries and community colleges across the state. Computer companies, such as Intel and Microsoft, have expressed interest in the project and many broadband service providers across Ohio are working to ensure that participants can easily get online by providing special incentives to first-time broadband subscribers who complete the training.
Connect Ohio’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) matching grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BTOP provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
View Connect Ohio’s Every Citizen Online televised public service announcements: http://connectohio.org/consumer_training/media.php.
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