In early May 2008, 202 Bell County sixth graders received the news that they would be receiving computers and printers at a ceremony held at Yellow Creek School Center. The computers were donated through ConnectKentucky’s No Child Left Offline (NCLO) program, an innovative program designed to help close the digital divide among Kentucky’s youth. This donation was made possible by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
“This is a wonderful program to help boys and girls get a leg up in education since computers are the future,” said Rep. Rick Nelson. “I would like to congratulate ConnectKentucky on this great program.”
ConnectKentucky was recently awarded a $300,000 grant by ARC to distribute over 1,000 refurbished computers in the region. With the generous support of ARC and in partnership with Microsoft Corp., CA, Inc., and Lexmark International, ConnectKentucky will be distributing 202 refurbished Internet-ready computers donated by Morehead State University. Each computer will be paired with a Lexmark inkjet printer, security software donated by CA Inc and Windows XP operating systems and office applications donated by Microsoft.
No Child Left Offline brings together public and private partners to help Kentucky households join the information age. The program is the most comprehensive initiative of its kind undertaken by any state in the nation. It ensures that computers donated by the state and private providers will be saved from landfills and used for the benefit of Kentucky families.
Today, thousands of Kentucky children live in homes without computers. NCLO is designed to help those children by providing access to technology where the need is greatest. For many families, owning a computer is the first step to reaching the opportunities available through the Internet.
“No Child Left Offline continues to transform the lives of Kentucky’s families,” stated Andrew McNeill, vice president of program development for ConnectKentucky. “Through the generous contribution of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the support of our corporate partners, ConnectKentucky is closing Kentucky’s digital divide, one household at a time.”
Placing computers in the hands of underprivileged students awards them the opportunity to access educational and research materials needed to effectively compete in today’s global economy. Recent research revealed that broadband adoption grew five times faster in counties that received computers through NCLO in the last two years.
ConnectKentucky has already initiated and executed a successful pilot project of NCLO and has delivered nearly 2,000 Internet-ready computers to middle school students and their families in 11 ARC counties. As part of the ARC initiative, ConnectKentucky has already delivered over 400 computers to Powell, Estill, Lee and Elliott counties and will continue to do so across the ARC until schools close for summer break.