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Youth Job Center gets computer grant

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The Youth Job Center of Evanston had received $40,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Eliminate the Digital Divide Program to implement a Community Technology Center.

The Youth Job Center of Evanston had received $40,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Eliminate the Digital Divide Program to implement a Community Technology Center.

The YJC is the first Evanston-based nonprofit organization to receive Digital Divide funds from DCEO.  This grant will allow the Youth Job Center to allow public access to computers and other technology center services for at least 12 hours per week.

When the state job center closed last year, "Evanston was left with a huge void in terms of providing access to technology for its residents,” says Executive Director, Sacella Smith.  “The Youth Job Center will now be filling that void as our new technology center will better meet the needs of the more than 1,400 young people we serve each year as well as the entire Evanston community.”

This grant from the state of Illinois works in tandem with funding received from two area family foundations to renovate and expand the YJC’s computer lab from 10 work stations to more than 20.

With unemployment still at 9.1 percent in Illinois and close to 7 percent in Evanston, the YJC Community Technology Center will be a vital resource to developing a strong workforce in Evanston and surrounding communities, says program director Molly Verble.

“So much of both training for a job and looking for a job is done on the computer,” Verble says.  “It is critical that everyone have basic computer skills and access to the technology necessary to secure employment.”

The goal of the Digital Divide Grant Program is to increase access to computers, telecommunications technologies, and related training for populations residing in low-to moderate income communities.

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