Some areas of South Carolina are being left behind in this computer age, but help could be on the way.
In an effort to train residents for computer literacy and job placement, Clemson University’s Institute for Community and Economic Development gathered geographical information system, or GIS, data to find the area most in need of technological help in the Charleston region. This involved looking into poverty levels, unemployment rates, and working computer knowledge, among other factors.
As the first lab in South Carolina is ready to start up in North Charleston, Clemson spokesperson Harry Crissy says they have plans to implement these work force development labs in other areas of the state as well.
“We hope to identify not just places in need but the places that are interested in having a computer lab like this throughout other parts of the state, I mean, we are interested in the whole state, so we’re not limiting ourselves. We are right now looking to identify, we had some people contact us that are interested, and we are looking at some other cities right now,” says Crissy.
Crissy says these new work force development labs, that will allow residents to have free computer access and training, are expected to be a success, and possibly bring down South Carolina’s unemployment numbers. He explains the underlying purpose of these labs.
“To open up information resources with people being left behind by technology, give people access to all these great resources that we have out there now with the Internet, and create new job skill sets, these become marketable skills, suddenly our population that didn’t have marketable skills for the technology age, they become marketable for a lot of different industries,” says Crissy.
The first neighborhood in South Carolina to have one of these labs is the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood in North Charleston, after the data showed it most in need. Clemson University and its Restoration Institute partnered with students from the College of Charleston, Comcast Cable, and technical professionals from the Linux Users Group in Charleston to make this first lab possible. Crissy says next stop may be Columbia.