The John C. Ford Program proposes to network six Inner City Telecommunications Centers (ICTCs) in the 200 square mile southern sector of Dallas, Texas. The project will bring low to moderate income residents into the 21st century through direct access to state-of-the-art multi-casting communications technology. Within 18 months, a network of six ICTCs, serving more than 460,000 residents in Dallas' southern sector, will train 200 at-risk youth, low-income and welfare-to-work residents of the target area within the first year of operation, and 450-600 residents each year thereafter. The project will establish neighborhood-based employment centers at each ICTC. This effort will be coupled with a proven set of economic development, education, and job training programs pioneered by the Ford Program in the target communities.
The ICTC network will feature Intranet and Internet capabilities, with interactive videoconferencing, and webcasting, furnished through IPTV technology. It has been designed so that with only minor upgrades the network can be Internet 2 capable once access is publicly available.
This is a model for the blending of the public, nonprofit, and private sectors. The model lends itself to adaptation by agencies currently engaged in employment training and economic development activities in low-income communities. The project will measure whether distance-learning technology will increase the willingness of corporations and businesses to provide mentors, trainers, business expertise, contracts for outsourced work, and ultimately employment opportunities for those individuals who live in inner-city areas.
Partnership agreements have been established with the Dallas Urban League, Calumet Community Center, East Dallas Weed & Seed Program, Holy Cross Church, Mountain View and Eastfield Community Colleges, Southern Hills Church of Christ, and the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management.