Janet Patterson, like many of the residents of the Bridge West Oakland Housing Project in Oakland, California, doesn't own a PC. But in not too many months, she and other residents at the 206-unit complex for low- and moderate-income residents will have IBM Network Stations in their apartments as part of a US$1.2 million project with IBM. "It will help our community with job literacy, education ... and, hopefully, job placement," Patterson said.
IBM will link the network computers to a server loaded with Internet access, word processing and spreadsheet software, among other things. The housing project will have a separate learning center with 15 PCs that will provide residents with basic computer skills training. Graduates will be certified by IBM, and the city will help the residents find jobs.
The effort is part of a push by Oakland's government to help low-income residents get job training. The Oakland City Council voted last year to require that all future low-income housing projects be equipped with fiber-optic cabling.