Commerce Secretary Tours GWUL Tech Center

Aug 25, 1999

On August 24, Commerce Secretary William M. Daley visited the Greater Washington Urban League Technology Resource Center to highlight President Clinton’s New Markets Initiative that promotes private sector investment in distressed communities. Daley toured the Center, along with Mayor Anthony Williams.

During the visit, the GWUL and corporate partners, AT&T and Microsoft, announced plans to expand the League’s technology program into Southeast Washington. GWUL President Maudine R. Cooper announced that with $70,000 in resources from AT&T and additional support from Microsoft, the League will upgrade its current technology center in the northeast quadrant of the city and open a new center in Southeast Washington. She also said the new name for the centers would be the Digital Campus Technology Resource Centers. Representing the two corporate partners were Esther Silver-Parker, president of the AT&T Foundation, and Jack Krumholtz, director of Federal Government Affairs, Microsoft.

Secretary Daley talked with youth participants in the League’s summer program as well as recent graduates who are employed in careers in the economic mainstream. Youth participants presented their business cards that they had designed on the computer to Secretary Daley and other guests.

A recent report by the Commerce Department, "Falling Through the Net: Defining the Digital Divide," said that while 37.7 percent of whites have access to the Internet at home or work, only 19.9 percent of African Americans and 16.6 percent of Hispanics have such access.

"Centers like ours and others will help many in our community to bridge the digital divide and reduce the risk of their lagging behind with little or no opportunity to catch up," said Cooper.

The GWUL has operated its current technology center since 1978. Since its inception the center has provided clerical and computer skills training to more than 2,600 District residents. Participants are drawn from a diverse population of welfare recipients, youth, ex-offenders, the underemployed, the elderly and the homeless. A 60-year-old nonprofit community service and civil rights organization, the GWUL is one of 115 affiliates of the National Urban League.