MSU staff with computers packaged for River Counties.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 11, 2014) – In a recent partnership between the Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development and the Office of Regional Outreach at Murray State University, the state is donating 125 refurbished computers to be used in new eLearning centers in four western Kentucky counties.
These e-Learning centers in Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton counties will give citizens access to broadband-connected computers, which make it easier for Kentuckians to look for jobs, take online classes, register for services, file taxes, shop for a car or research health care options.
“A partnership such as this is a key part of the state’s outreach efforts to make a difference in our citizens’ lives,” said Brian Kiser, executive director of the Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development. “Working with MSU and the Purchase Area Development District helps us direct our resources where they can have the most impact.”
Gov. Steve Beshear created the Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development in 2010 to oversee the state’s overall Broadband KY initiative. Kentucky has received more than $5.3 million in grants for broadband mapping and outreach programs, including Broadband KY, from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program.
The state computer donation to MSU builds on the recent announcement of Gov. Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers to extend high-speed broadband Internet access to the farthest reaches of the Commonwealth. The statewide broadband project will build nearly 3,000 miles of fiber infrastructure, incorporating the best available technology.
According to Kiser, lack of broadband access is much more of a challenge in rural areas. Eliminating some of these barriers, which means being comfortable and fluent with computers and technology, is a necessity for Kentuckians to participate in today’s global economy.
The e-Learning centers will provide computer access and educational programming to citizens who may not have access anywhere else.
“We have been working with local civic leaders and government officials to establish these four e-Learning centers,” said Gina S. Winchester, executive director, Office of Regional Outreach, Murray State University. “Staff at the centers look forward to helping people obtain the skills they need to be confident in using computers for a variety of tasks or entertainment options.”
According to Winchester, the state’s computer donation means the centers should be open in May, much sooner than anticipated.
“We hope these centers will become a model that can be replicated in other areas of the state,” she said.