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Tech Grant



PATERSON � The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Passaic County Community College $597,035 to implement a program to teach low-income Latino residents and business owners advanced technology skills, Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-Paterson, announced Wednesday.


PCCC is one of only 10 schools in the receive the HUD grant, which comes from the federal agency's Hispanic Serving Institutions' Assisting Communities program, Pascrell said.


"As a former teacher, I understand the capacity to compete tomorrow will depend on our success in training today's students," he said.


Miryam Rinkerman , a professor at PCCC and director of the college's Paterson Community Technology Center, said access to technology is only half the battle. Knowing how to use technology in a meaningful way is essential, too, she said.


The program, called New Skills for a Digital Economy, has three components. One will target 60 local Latino business owners for a 12-month series of seminars led by the college's business faculty on subjects such as: gaining access to capital, marketing, technology and accounting principals.


The PCCC faculty and students will follow-up with the participants of the program and provide on-site technical assistance.


The second area of the program has an after-school multimedia training program for students 11 to 13 years old that the college's Community Technology Center will lead with the teacher education department.


Over three years, 240 children will learn digital graphics, digital video production, animation and interactive Web design, Rinkerman said.


In the third component, English as a Second Language PCCC faculty will train instructors from three community-based ESL providers to integrate technology into their programs. It is anticipated that they will ultimately reach 400 adult students.


Daniel Jara , president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said 52,000 businesses in the state are Latino-owned, generating more than $10 billion in sales and supporting more than 180,000 jobs. But many haven't been using technology because of inadequate access and training, Jara said.


"This program will give these businesses the chance to cross the digital divide to be more successful," Jara said.


Reach Danielle Shapiro at (973) 569-7153 or

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