Los Angeles Using Broadband Grant to Help Job Seekers, Public Centers

The city will use $7 million Recovery Act grant to expand and upgrade public computer centers in hopes to help job seekers find work.

by / January 14, 2010

Photo: L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa / Wikipedia Commons

The city of Los Angeles announced Wednesday, Jan. 13, that it has won a $7 million Recovery Act grant to expand computer and Internet access.

The grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was awarded to the Los Angeles Computer Access Network (L.A.-CAN). It will double the number of workstations available throughout the city at public computer centers in libraries, work-force centers and youth and family centers in low-income and non-English speaking communities. The money will go toward expanding and upgrading 188 computer centers that provide the public with free broadband access to the Internet.

"With access to computers and broadband Internet that many of us take for granted, more Angelenos will have the opportunity to use the tools of the 21st century to get the jobs of the 21st century," L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement. "With this ARRA funding, we will take another step toward bridging the digital divide and getting the hardworking people of Los Angeles back to work."

The project proposes to:

o Expand and upgrade free public centers at 73 public library locations, 43 WorkSource and OneSource job centers and 72 recreation centers, senior centers and child-care centers -- connecting 35 youth and senior centers to broadband Internet services for the first time.

o Expand broadband Internet access to vulnerable populations: 128 of the proposed centers are in or near areas where 50 percent of the households are non-English speaking.

o Expand broadband Internet access to low-income communities: 158 of the proposed centers are located in areas where 50 percent of the households are at low or moderate income levels.

o Provide city residents with access to job and computer training and online search engines, including the library's recently developed Job Hunting Guide.

"In these tough times, this project is particularly important for job seekers who are using computers at libraries and job source centers to look for job opportunities or prepare resumes," said L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti, in a blog post. "This grant funding will allow us to significantly expand computer and Internet access, and hopefully that will help many job seekers find work."