RealTime IT News

AT&T Partners with NAACP for Minority Tech Centers

AT&T is partnering with the NAACP to create tech centers in 20 cities aimed at providing computer training and Internet seminars for minority group members.

The move is intended to help bridge the gap between white people and blacks and Hispanics in technical savvy and access to the Internet.

"The technological segregation known as the digital divide must be narrowed," NAACP President Kweisi Mfume told the Associated Press.

AT&T will provide hardware, software and on-site support for technology in the centers.

"The centers will be open after the school doors close so parents and children can learn computer usage together," Mfume said. "The old and the young learning together will help reduce that divide."

An AT&T spokesman said that sites for the centers will include Baltimore, Dallas, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Seattle, among other locations. Ameritech Corp. and the National Urban League announced last week they will spend $350,000 to build five new Internet community centers in Aurora, IL Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis and Milwaukee. And 3Com Corp. said it will spend $1 million in donated equipment and training in 10 cities to help teach students to be computer network engineers.

Last week, a Commerce Department report, "Falling Through the Net," said the disparity on the Internet between whites and black and Hispanic Americans is growing.

The report found about 47 percent of all whites own computers, but fewer than half as many blacks do. About 25.5 percent of Hispanics own computers, but 55 percent of Asian-Americans do. Asian families also are most likely to have Internet access, with 36 percent online.