The Illinois Community Technology Fund (ICTF) came about through the SBC/Ameritech merger that set aside $1.5 million in 2000 to provide advanced telecommunications services and skills necessary to improve the quality of live for low-income and rural Illinois populations through organizational grants. This is an evaluation report of a multiple organization community technology project funded by the Illinois Community Technology Fund. These funds were distributed in 2001 and 2002 grant rounds to prepare citizens to live and work in a growing technological society. A wide variety of organizations including community based organizations, community colleges, and schools were given a maximum of $50,000 to support programs dedicated to the ICTF goals. These organizations served a broad spectrum of ages and populations to attempt to bridge the digital divide.
Seventy-seven programs were funded statewide with 35 of those in the Chicagoland area. Of the 76 grantees, 68 provided some level of information about their programs activities for this evaluation. In speaking with the service providers, it appears the programs served a broad spectrum of ages from youth under eighteen to individuals over 56 years old. The most common 5 age group served was the 26 to 35 year old range (63.5%). The vast majority of individuals who utilized these technology services were from traditionally underserved populations in the rural and metropolitan areas of Illinois. As well, a majority were currently unemployed (53.8%) and ended their education with a high school diploma or GED (53.8%). Program service providers indicated that 80% of the individuals using the center would be classified as lower socioeconomic status. The number of individuals served per week ranged between 0 to 10 and more than 100 of individuals with the most common number being between 21 and 30 (28%).
Center for Urban Research and Learning; Kerr, Amy; Kellam, Tanya; and Sharma, Aparna, "Successes and Challenges Among Community Technology Programs in Illinois" (2005). Center for Urban Research and Learning: Publications and Other Works. 5.
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