The National Urban Technology Center's Community Employment Network will address one of the most challenging issues facing our cities today: how to help individuals on public assistance obtain and retain productive employment. The Community Employment Network will be located in the inner-city community of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The Internet-based network will connect public assistance recipients, such as foster care youth, with community resources, their caseworkers, and on-line business mentors for continuing support. The project will also provide employment training and listings for technology-related jobs, internships, and job opportunities.
The majority of the residents of the inner-city community of Bedford-Stuyvesant are minority: 85 percent African American and 13 percent Hispanic. The overall unemployment rate is 30 percent. Social service agencies serving this population must find new ways of providing employment skills and training for this "at risk" population. The Community Employment Network will link two community-based organizations with the Urban Technology headquarters in Manhattan, as well as connect ten public access sites. Using the network, the community organizations can automate their administrative processes and offer more efficient, personalized employment-related training by using computerized individual development plans to help people find and retain jobs. In addition, 100 re-built Urban Technology computers will be put into the homes of public assistance recipients so they can work closely with their caseworkers as they work their way off of public assistance.
Partnering with Urban Technology are two community-based organizations, Concord Family Services and Latimer-Woods Economic Development Association. Other partners include Technology Service Solutions, a joint venture between IBM and Kodak, who will provide training and mentors; AT&T, who will provide mentors and network design; Concord Baptist Church, who will provide public access sites; Central Brooklyn Federal Credit Union; and Alliance of Black Telecommunications Employees, who will also provide on-line mentors.