Youth Policy Institute, Inc.

YPI Public Computer Centers Program

Economically vulnerable Spanish-speaking households in the greater Los Angeles region of California often lack reliable, affordable access to broadband services, which reduces opportunities for after-school assistance and adult education. The Youth Policy Institute, in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District and other L.A.-area community anchor institutions, proposes to establish 78 new public computer centers and renovate two others in the region, including at 66 K-12 public schools. The project will provide broadband and computer access and job training services to low-income residents in the targeted area, with a specific focus on predominantly Hispanic communities, leveraging YPI’s existing ParentSmart and Family Technology projects. YPI also proposes to provide distance learning services to young adults through partnerships with local community colleges and offer onsite tutors—primarily AmeriCorps volunteers—to help students with homework and provide additional online training.

Total Award: 
$5,572,361
BTOP In Action
Two students receive e-filing tips from Program Coordinator Ben Delgado

The Youth Policy Institute (YPI) opened its first public computer center on October 18, 2010. The Time Warner Cable Technology Center is one of 80 new computer centers YPI will open in the Los Angeles area. California State Assembly member Felipe Fuentes joined YPI staff at an opening ceremony that showcased the facility and the 24 refurbished desktops donated by Time Warner Cable. Besides accessing computers and broadband Internet, visitors to the center can attend a variety of digital literacy and educational classes supported by BTOP funds, including computer basics, Internet fundamentals, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), SAT preparation, Federal and state tax e-filing, and resume and cover letter techniques.

The center’s main focus is to provide classes that meet the interests of the area’s low-income, Hispanic population. In response to poor literacy rates in the community, the center created the Leamos Spanish Literacy Program, which utilizes educational software to teach Latino immigrants basic computer skills as well as how to read and write in Spanish. A survey of local middle school students led to the creation of the Game Development Workshop, which teaches participants simple video game coding and design techniques. As of April 2011, more than 1,821 community members have participated in the center’s training classes. The center also houses a YPI workforce development program that is training clients for health careers funded by an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program through the U.S. Department of Labor.

The project is also using BTOP funds to create a total of 20 new jobs to help facilitate training and maintain the computer labs. As of April 2011, the Youth Policy Institute has filled ten of these positions. The project also has a page on Facebook with the latest news.

Last Updated: October 18, 2011.

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