City of Philadelphia: Mayor Nutter and City Partners Continue “Freedom Rings” Partnership

March 26, 2012
Mark McDonald, Press Secretary

Philadelphia OIC opens one of 77 KEYSPOT computer locations across Philadelphia.

(City of Philadelphia) Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the City’s partners launched a mobile KEYSPOT powered by the “Freedom Rings Partnership” site at the Philadelphia Opportunities Industrialization Center (OIC). This mobile KEYSPOT is a tech van providing computer, internet access and training to partnering organizations that do not otherwise have access to these important tools. The opening of this KEYSPOT is one of 77 public computer centers slated for the City and providing digital literacy and workforce training opportunities. Currently, 70 of the sites are open, serving an average of nearly 3,000 clients per week.

The “Freedom Rings Partnership” has created more than 100 full-time and part-time jobs. The 77 KEYSPOTS will be at new computer centers and expanded, existing computer centers: 19 recreation centers, 29 community-based organization sites working with high-risk populations, 10 homeless shelters, 15 affordable housing sites, and four mobile labs that will reach communities lacking space or the capacity to house a computer center.
The following organizations are also members of the “Freedom Rings Partnership”:

▪ Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Project ▪ One Day At A Time
▪ Media Mobilizing Project ▪ Free Library of Philadelphia
▪ Drexel University ▪ People’s Emergency Center
▪ Department of Parks and Recreation ▪ National Comprehensive Center for Fathers
▪ Media Mobilizing Project ▪ New America Foundation
▪ Rutgers University ▪ Philadelphia Housing Authority
▪ Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition ▪ City of Philadelphia Office of Innovation and Technology
▪ Philadelphia FIGHT

“Over the past year, computer literacy for all ages has been a priority for my Administration,” said Mayor Nutter. “Computer literacy helps individuals to apply for jobs, become more educated, and be more connected. Through our other outreach initiatives such as the Digital On-Ramps, Change By Us Philly and our partnership with Code for America, Philadelphia is at the forefront of preparing our citizens for the 21st century economy.”

Council President Darrell Clarke said, “As the economy slowly rebounds, it becomes even more important to ensure our citizens are trained and prepared to join the workforce. The OIC’s Freedom Rings partnerships have played a critical role in getting us to the goal of no Philadelphian left behind.”

KEYSPOT, Powered by Freedom Rings Partnership is a federally funded Recovery Act (ARRA) program made possible through support from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration through its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. This includes:

  • A $6.4 million Public Computing Centers Award provided to the City.
  • An $11.8 million Sustainable Broadband Adoption Award to the Urban Affairs Coalition, the lead partnering organization.
  • $3.3 million in matching funds provided by the City and other grant sub-recipients.
  • $3.6 million in matching funds provided by the Urban Affairs Coalition and grant sub-recipients.

Bob Nelson, OIC President and CEO said, “We are excited to be a partner in this initiative as it addresses a fundamental need to connect people to technology, which can improve their lives through education, training, job search. It provides a window to the world of information.

In addition to computer training services that will be provided at citywide KEYSPOT computer centers, the “Freedom Rings Partnership” will encourage Philadelphians to “get connected” to technology in their homes. The participating partners expect to serve about 15,000 people per year with over 200,000 hours of hands-on training at the 77 KEYSPOT locations across Philadelphia. The Partnerships will also provide 75,000 residents with information on KEYSPOTS to encourage them to sign up for computer training, log on to the Internet, and connect with family, friends, and opportunities.

KEYSPOT identifies specific locations for Internet access, technology and training opportunities across Philadelphia. Each location creates a space for opportunity, professional development and self-defined success – whether it’s completing school work, searching for jobs, researching colleges, or accessing health information. It is estimated that over one third of Philadelphians are not connected to the internet.\

To learn about upcoming openings, the public is invited to call the Freedom Rings Partnership Hotline at 215.851.1990, call 3-1-1 or visit http://www.freedomringspartnership.com/.

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