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COMPUTING

Clinton announces IT training for low-income children

July 13, 1999
Web posted at: 12:03 p.m. EDT (1603 GMT)

by Jack McCarthy

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(IDG) -- Evoking an America plagued by a "growing digital divide," separating computer haves from have nots, President Clinton has announced a privately-financed initiative to train low-income children for careers in information technology fields.

Clinton said $8 million has been committed by private companies to fund a new training program in public schools. The president spoke yesterday at a conference in Anaheim, California, held by the National Academy Foundation, which will manage the new program.

Clinton, on a national tour to promote "new markets" of economic development for disadvantaged areas of the U.S., referred to a U.S. Department of Commerce report released yesterday that showed a gap between users and non-users of information technology and the Internet.

"There is a growing digital divide between those who have access to the digital economy and the Internet and those who don't, and that divide exists along the lines of education, income, religion and race," he said.
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Major companies, including Lucent Technologies Inc., AT&T Corp. and America Online Inc., are contributing funds to the project, which will be called the Academy of Information Technology, Clinton said. The funds will support curriculum development, teacher training and technology infrastructure in schools. The National Academy Foundation operates 350 academies in 37 states.

Companies see the investment in information technology education for low-income youths as both altruistic and practical, said Darlene Warrington, a Lucent spokeswoman. The investment, she said, "benefits Lucent, industry and most of all, the kids who will need these jobs."

The president also said he is endorsing a $250 million plan to offer tax credits and affordable loans to businesses that employ people in low-income areas.



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