Northeast Times

These computers keep giving

Stu­dents are be­ne­fit­ing from a com­puter cen­ter at the Frank­ford Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Corp.

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The Frank­ford Com­munity De­vel­op­ment Cor­por­a­tion is now the neigh­bor­hood com­puter cen­ter.

Thanks to Temple Uni­versity and the city’s Philly Rising pro­gram, the com­munity or­gan­iz­a­tion at 4900 Griscom St. now has nine re­fur­bished com­puters that will be avail­able for use by the pub­lic Mondays, Wed­nes­days and Fri­days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and also Tues­days and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

May­or Mi­chael Nut­ter and Man­aging Dir­ect­or Rich Negrin were on hand re­cently to open the cen­ter, which was or­gan­ized by Philly Rising, which asked the CDC to provide the space. The rib­bon-cut­ting was a crowded af­fair with many loc­al of­fi­cials, busi­ness own­ers, pas­tors, res­id­ents and stu­dents squeez­ing in­to CDC of­fices.

The may­or ex­plained why the com­puter cen­ter fills a need.

Forty-one per­cent of Phil­adelphi­ans don’t have ac­cess to the In­ter­net, the may­or said, but 80 per­cent of em­ploy­ment ap­plic­a­tions are on­line. Ap­plic­a­tions for col­lege fin­an­cial aid also are done on­line.

“Everything now has to be done on­line,” Nut­ter said.

To meet that need, Nut­ter said, the city has opened up 77 com­puter cen­ters.

“The be­ne­fit will ripple throughout the com­munity,” the may­or said.

Temple is donat­ing the com­puters, which are loaded with Win­dows XP and In­ter­net ac­cess, said Jonath­an Latko, as­sist­ant dir­ect­or of the uni­versity’s Com­puter Re­cyc­ling Cen­ter.

The nine ma­chines are all 5- to 6 years old with 15- to 17-inch flat screens and are re­fur­bished and ready to use, Latko said last week.

He said Temple has been donat­ing its older com­puters to city or­gan­iz­a­tions as it re­places them with new ma­chines. Latko said the uni­versity av­er­ages 20 to 30 dona­tions per year.

Frank­ford High 10th-grader Jack Charles, 16, said he was look­ing for­ward to us­ing the In­ter­net to help with his school work.

But the idea of provid­ing neigh­bor­hood In­ter­net ac­cess is not only to help stu­dents with their stud­ies or job seekers find em­ploy­ment, said the CDC’s man­aging dir­ect­or, Tracy O’Drain. Loc­al busi­ness op­er­at­ors will be wel­come to use the com­puter cen­ter to build Web sites.

That ac­cess was not ready last week, and it’s hoped the com­puters will be on­line be­fore month’s end.

The may­or’s of­fice said the CDC has signed an agree­ment with Pennsylvania Ca­reer­Link to host its soft­ware and will serve as a com­munity em­ploy­ment re­source.

Manny Cit­ron, an as­sist­ant city man­aging dir­ect­or as­signed to Philly Rising, said the cen­ter will be open Sunday, Feb. 26, in con­junc­tion with the May­or’s Phil­ly­Goes2­Col­lege Of­fice and Cam­paign for Work­ing Fam­il­ies so res­id­ents can use the com­puters to file taxes or col­lege fin­an­cial aid ap­plic­a­tions. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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