Residents and neighbors of Glendale Townhomes, part of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) in southeast Minneapolis, can now look for employment and take classes to improve their computer skills thanks to a fully-updated public computer center that features high-speed Internet, free computer classes, and staff to help individuals who want to learn more about computers.
The addition of high-speed Internet along with new computer equipment and support services through the University of Minnesota Broadband Access Project (BAP) (http://www.bap.umn.edu/)has increased Glendale Townhomes’ abilities to meet the needs of its residents.
Last summer the Glendale Townhomes computer center received its BAP updates with a goal of better serving adult job seekers. The computer center is open to the public five days a week (Monday, noon-5 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.) with priority given to Glendale Townhomes residents and Prospect Park neighbors.
“We see this as an enhancement, because not only will it provide onsite computers with the latest equipment, there will be training for residents and opportunities for residents to become self sufficient,” says Evelyn LaRue, director of the resident initiatives department, MPHA.
The BAP is a $3.6 million program of the University of Minnesota to provide high-speed Internet and broadband access awareness, in partnership with University of Minnesota’s Office for Business and Community Economic Development (BCED) and the Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium (MMMC).
The BAP, envisioned as a service to bridge the digital divide for under-resourced sections of the Twin Cities, has created computer centers in four federally-designated poverty zones: north Minneapolis, south Minneapolis, southeast Minneapolis, and St. Paul. The community groups in these areas are typically African American, Latino, Native American, Somali, and Hmong.
The training available at all the centers covers computer fundamentals, use of the Internet and email. The BAP computer centers also provide help with writing and critiques, and assists residents with job searches.
“Glendale will also have an apprenticeship program which will provide training and work opportunities for the residents within the computer center,” LaRue says. “Residents said they wanted to have a computer lab and training. They really want training for jobs. The computer center is a win-win for everyone–Glendale residents, the community, and MPHA– because it addresses residents’ concerns and needs and supports the University’s desire to increase its engagement efforts.”
Glendale Townhomes currently has 184 houses that accommodate 552 residents, the majority of whom are African American, Laotian, Hmong, Somali, Latino, Native American, and Ethiopian. The community’s commitment to cultural competence is reflected in how services are provided, including classes that teach English as a second language.
Glendale Townhomes is also the site of a PICA (Parents In Community Action) Head Start program for families with preschool children. The neighborhood’s Luxton Park Recreation Center has a separate computer lab geared for youth.
This publication, Glendale Townhomes, was prepared by (Minnesota Multicultural Media Consortium) under award #27-42-B10003 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Commerce.