University receives federal stimulus funds

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke selected Florida A&M as a recipient for a $1.5 million award to increase broadband internet access that will be used to create a Center for Public Computing and Workforce Development.

The award, one of 14 in the nation, is designed to help bridge the technological divide, create jobs and strengthen education and public safety throughout the country.

The total government investment is equal to $208.6 million. The purpose of the grant is to raise the usage of broadband internet access and ensure that all Americans have an equal quality of life and a chance to grow economically.

Tavares Walters, 19, a sophomore physical therapy student from Cocoa, Fla., encourages others to embrace the program.

"I believe the program is very important because the world is becoming a paperless system as the years go by and those without any computer literacy outside of social networking sites are at a disadvantage."

For the next three years, Leon, Gadsden andJefferson counties will be able to access a new public computer center.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce's official website, the new Center for Public Computing and Workforce Development will have 65 workstations and will train as many as 14,500 residents with approximately 87,000 hours of teacher-led training annually.

Trainees will learn the fundamental disciplines valuable to northern Florida, which include public administration and healthcare.

FAMU Enterprise Information Technology Division and Department of Workforce Education and Development are presiding over the project.

"I believe many people lack certain skills necessary for survival in the world as far as industry is concerned because our society has fostered a lifestyle of inadequacy," Walters said. "Many people believe they can make it big through reality TV, but people are not finding careers, just better jobs with no sense of passion for their profession."

FAMU officials have scheduled a press conference Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the M.S. Thomas Industrial Arts Laboratory, 1600 Wahnish Way. Rep. Allen Boyd, President James Ammons, Provost Cynthia Hughes Harris and Robert Seniors, vice president for the Division of Enterprise Information Technology will be in attendance. The center will aid in the construction of a trained workforce for Tallahassee and the general North Florida area.