Dixwell Neighborhood Technical Access Center Increases Free Course Offerings

Increased use of the Technology Access Center (TAC) at Stetson Library in the Dixwell neighborhood, co-sponsored by Yale University and SNET, has led to more evening class offerings, most of which are nearly filled to capacity.

Frank Meoli, the TAC’s director, said that in early March he posted a third round of class offerings scheduled for March 6 through 16. Within a day of registering customers for the 108 places in the various classes, eleven of the sixteen classes were filled and there were only about a dozen seats left in the others.

“I think this a tribute to the TAC people who have been teaching the classes and getting rave reviews,” said Meoli. He added the success was largely due to the efforts of Charlene Cupole, his co-director, his volunteer staff and students from Hill Regional Career High School who work part-time in the evenings at Stetson.

“Our customers were well served,” added Meoli. “I spoke with several customers who expressed their appreciation and said that the TAC would, over the next several months, provide them with the skills and knowledge they needed to use technology productively and accomplish their goals.”

The Technology Access Center (TAC), a joint effort by Yale University, SNET and the New Haven Free Public Library, opened on January 18. Yale contributed a digital divide grant of $75,000 as well as 140 computers, of which 23 are being used in the TAC. The balance is slated for other uses. Six computers utilize wireless Internet technology and are mounted on carts to be wheeled anywhere within the library.

The TAC is the result of a collaboration between the partners. SNET provided the Digital Divide grant and high-speed Internet access while Yale University provided the TAC’s computer equipment, technical personnel, and administration of an intensive training program. The New Haven Public Schools’ Youth Tech Corps - a group of students from Hill Regional Career High School - will also help staff the Center.

Through the program, the Youth Tech Corps members sharpened their skills in word processing, desktop publishing and efficient use of the Internet. In addition to the participation of the Youth Tech Corps, another group of students from Career High School has developed a vigorous marketing plan designed to attract patrons from under-served communities to the TAC.

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