|HUD No. 00-79|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||8:30 PDT Monday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||April 17, 2000|
CUOMO SAYS INITIATIVES DEVELOPED BY HUD AND PRIVATE SECTOR WILL HELP IMPLEMENT PRESIDENT'S PLAN TO BRIDGE THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today unveiled computer education and training initiatives to create jobs and economic development for people and places left behind. The initiatives are part of President Clinton's plan to bridge the digital divide that separates the poor from the more affluent.
Cuomo joined President Clinton and other federal officials today on visits to East Palo Alto, CA, and Shiprock, NM - part of the Navajo Nation - to shine a spotlight on the need to provide computers and the skills to use them to low-income people and communities.
The visits were the third of a series that President Clinton is making as part of his New Markets Initiative, which is promoting public and private investment in communities in need.
"Computer literacy helps our children succeed in school and can unlock the door to a new world of knowledge as well as a good job," Cuomo said. "When we help people trapped in poverty get computer skills, we help them transform their lives and build better futures."
The new HUD-private sector initiatives will:
- Create 500 new Neighborhood Network computer learning centers in housing that receives HUD funding, to help children do better in school and to help adults get jobs. This will be accomplished through partnerships with PowerUP and Andersen Consulting.
- Create 10 academies that teach people in low-income communities advanced computer skills - including how to design, build and maintain computer networks - to enable graduates to get well-paid jobs. Cisco systems and Communities in Schools will work together with HUD to create these academies.
- Help Indian tribes plan technology-related economic development. Andersen Consulting will provide expert assistance in these efforts.
Here are details of the HUD-private sector initiatives that Cuomo announced:
- HUD will work with local communities to double the number of Neighborhood Network Centers from 500 to 1,000 by next year. Andersen Consulting will provide $50,000 to help this expansion include the first 10 centers to be opened in Indian Country. Since 1995, HUD has worked with businesses, governments and non-profit groups to open Neighborhood Networks Centers that provide computer access and skills training to residents of HUD-funded housing. HUD helps local communities buy computers and other equipment needed for Neighborhood Network Centers.
- PowerUP - a national initiative launched in November 1999 by more than a dozen non-profit groups, corporations and federal agencies - will provide hundreds of Neighborhood Network Centers with Gateway computers from the Waitt Family Foundation, trained staff from Americorp*VISTA, free AOL accounts, snacks from PowerBar and interactive online programming provided by the AOL Foundation based on America's Promise's "five promises" identified as essential for children to become successful adults. These Neighborhood Network Centers be among some of the first Centers in Indian Country. The goal of PowerUP is ensure that the nation's youth have the skills, experiences, and resources needed to succeed in the digital age.
CISCO NETWORKING ACADEMIES
- Cisco Systems and Communities in Schools will work with HUD to create 10 Cisco Networking Academies in underserved communities to teach highly lucrative computer skills. The Academies teach students to design, build, and maintain computer networks. They will be located in the following communities: Eagle Butte, SD (on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation); St., Louis, MO; Baltimore, MD; New York City (Harlem); Gary, IN; Santa Ana, CA; Boston, MA; Houston, TX; Knoxville, TN; and Seattle, WA. This represents a $1.37 million investment by Cisco.
ASSISTANCE TO NATIVE AMERICANS
- Andersen Consulting will provide $100,000 worth of technical assistance to help tribes plan technology-related economic development, including e-commerce. HUD will identify tribes that would benefit from this assistance.
- HUD has spearheaded the creation of the White House's Native eDGE initiative, a one-stop-shop for communication and information sharing between the government, private businesses, and Native Americans. The website and toll-free telephone line link dozens of federal agencies to entrepreneurs in Indian Country - including lending institutions, non-profit groups, foundations, and private businesses - to foster cooperation on economic growth. The first demonstration of the website was scheduled for Diné College during the President's visit to Shiprock, NM.
President Clinton and Secretary Cuomo visited the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota last July to examine its severe housing and economic development needs. That was the first visit to Indian Country by a sitting president in more than 75 years.
Since Fiscal Year 1997, HUD has provided more than $300 million to the Navajo Nation. The funds have helped to: build or rehabilitate more than 3,300 units of housing and provide rental assistance for dozens more; provide vital water/sewer and power infrastructure; help tribal members become homeowners by providing homebuyer education and counseling; and prevent crime and drug abuse on tribal lands.
Indian tribal lands, which have some of the most severe shortages of housing and jobs in the United States, are home to about half of the 2 million Indians in this country.
More than 40 percent of the housing on tribal lands is considered substandard - six times the rate for the rest of the United States. On reservations, 21 percent of homes are overcrowded - nearly 10 times the proportion elsewhere.
According to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, unemployment on Indian reservations around the nation averages about 50 percent, compared with the national unemployment rate running around 4.2 percent.