WASHINGTON, September 16, 2010 – The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Thursday announced two American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments, totaling $6.1 million in grants, to North Carolina and Washington.
“These Recovery Act investments illustrate how broadband technology can not only expand economic and educational opportunities, but it can also make the justice system more accessible to the public,” NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling said.
North Carolina Central University’s School of Law will receive about $2 million to upgrade broadband service while expanding access to its legal education programs. The project will use videoconferencing to bring low-income residents greater access to legal services and extend classes to four partner historically black colleges and universities and 22 legal assistance sites.
The project also plans to hold legal writing seminars for undergraduates to prepare them for law school and increase minority representation in the legal profession, as well as to provide legal classes geared toward middle and high school students.
The Puget Sound Center Foundation for Teaching, Learning, and Technology will receive a $4.1 million grant to expand or upgrade 39 public computer centers in Washington state. This includes partnering with the Northwest Justice Project, Washington’s publicly funded legal aid program, to establish public computer centers in five rural courts, including the Kalispel tribal court, where the public can access online legal resources and other services. The project also plans enhanced training offerings for economically vulnerable populations, including courses addressing GED test preparation, digital literacy, job searches and financial education.
NTIA will make all Broadband Technology Opportunities Program awards by Sept. 30.