JOHNSON COUNTY STUDENTS RECEIVE FREE REFURBISHED STATE COMPUTERS
Governor Ernie Fletcher Delivers First Computers of the No Child Left Offline Program
Paintsville, Kentucky, January 5, 2006: Today, Governor Ernie Fletcher presented 193 Johnson County eighth grade students and their families with free computers, software, and printers as part of the No Child Left Offline program. The Johnson County Middle School and Paintsville Middle School students are the first recipients in the program, announced by Governor Fletcher in October 2005. The No Child Left Offline program recycles and refurbishes surplus state computers and distributes them to eighth grade students without computers at home.
"Today is a great day for these students and families in Johnson County," Governor Fletcher commented. "The No Child Left Offline program affirms Kentucky's continued commitment to technology and education."
No Child Left Offline is an innovative project that brings together public and private partners to help all Kentucky households join the Information Age. The program is the most comprehensive initiative of its kind undertaken by any state in the nation. The program ensures that thousands of computers will be saved from landfills and used for the benefit of Kentucky families.
"When our state computers no longer meet the requirements of the professional user, instead of dumping them in the landfill or selling them for pennies on the dollar, we are giving them to children of Kentucky. The return on investment is priceless," Governor Fletcher stated.
According to Education Secretary Virginia Fox, “Giving students their own computers to take home will not only help them do better in school, it will open doors to information and education for the whole family. Technology enables countless opportunities to improve the standard of living for Kentucky families."
Tim Adams, Johnson County Middle School Principal, is excited to see students directly benefit from the No Child Left Offline program. "For these eighth graders to take home quality hardware for free reinforces the importance of technology in their lives. At school, the students use state-of-the-art technology; now, they can extend their learning to the home with their family."
Furthermore, several organizations in Johnson County have come together to leverage community resources and provide recipients and their families with computer training. Johnson County Public Library, the Mayo Campus of Big Sandy Community and Technical College System, and Johnson County Middle School's Gear Up Program are collaborating to provide computer courses for basic skills and office applications. The four-hour course will be taught for two hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings every week in January and every other week in February. Participants will receive course certification from Big Sandy Community and Technical College upon completion of the two classes. Information regarding the computer course will be posted on the following website: www.connectkentucky.org/projects/nclo.
Today, nearly 80 percent of Kentucky families with children own a computer at home. No Child Left Offline is intended to close that gap for the remaining 20 percent and provide access to technology where there is the greatest need. Approximately 215,000 children in Kentucky do not have computer hardware in their home. Families unable to access the Internet often cite computer ownership as a major barrier.
ConnectKentucky, a non-profit organization that promotes technology-based economic development in the Commonwealth, is coordinating the project with operational support from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Department for Innovation and
Commercialization in the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet. Additional state support is provided by the Education Cabinet, the Commonwealth Office of Technology in the Finance Cabinet, and Kentucky Correctional Industries in the Justice Cabinet. Microsoft Corporation, Computer Associates, and Lexmark International donated software and printers to the project.
ConnectKentucky plans to distribute 2,000 refurbished computers to Kentucky eighth graders in 2006. Groups interested in participating in the No Child Left Offline program can submit requests online at www.connectkentucky.org.
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About ConnectKentucky: ConnectKentucky is leading the way into a new economy for Kentuckians. As an independent technology-based economic development organization, ConnectKentucky is working to ensure that Kentucky remains the place of choice to work, live, and raise a family. ConnectKentucky is an alliance of technology-minded businesses, government entities, and universities working together to accelerate technology in the Commonwealth.