April, 2009Mayor Bill White, Microsoft Corp., and the Houston Public Library (HPL) announced a $4.5 million grant benefiting WeCAN Works, a digital literacy and workforce preparedness effort recently launched as part of the Houston Digital Inclusion Initiative Wireless Empowered Community Access Network (WeCAN), houstonwecan.org.
The Microsoft Unlimited Potential grant, awarded to the Houston Public Library Foundation for WeCAN Works, includes $4.3 million in software and $200,000 in cash over a two-year period.
The Houston Digital Inclusion Initiative estimates that more than 160,000 underserved and unskilled Houstonians will be impacted by this program over the two-year period. WeCAN Works will offer digital literacy training, job readiness training, internships, GED programs, career counseling, and job referrals and placements. Additionally, hundreds of city and community organizations citywide will benefit from a host of licenses and educational and productivity software provided through the grant.
"The ability of all Houstonians to access and use digital technology is important if our city is to remain at the top of the list at attracting business," said Mayor White. "Just as importantly, the ability to stay in touch with loved ones, to learn, or to browse the market place is important to us all and adds to the quality of life here. Through the Digital Inclusion Initiative and the WeCAN Works program, Houston has just that much more to offer."
"Microsoft has a long-standing relationship with the Houston community," said Microsoft's Gail Thomas-Flynn, General Manager of State and Local Government. "We believe that digital literacy tools and resources will help to unlock the career potential of all Houstonians."
WeCAN Works partners include the City of Houston, the Houston Public Library, Microsoft Corp., the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the Houston Community College System (HCC), Workforce Solutions and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP).