Progreso Hispano Empowers Immigrants Through Technology.

Progreso Hispano, a community organization that works with immigrants to improve the quality of their lives, today announced the opening of its new community technology center. The organization’s clients will have access to and instruction on using technology to help with GED preparation, educational opportunities, job searches and online citizenship services.

“The community technology center supports the work Progreso is doing in the community,” said Cristina Schoendorf, Executive Director, Progreso Hispano. “It connects immigrants with technology, and expands their resources.”

Progreso Hispano is just one of 32 new community technology centers that have been opened nationwide in low-income Hispanic communities through the League of United Latin American Citizens’ (LULAC) Empower Hispanic America with Technology initiative. LULAC, the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, advances the economic conditions, educational attainment, political influence, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs. The new community technology centers are being supported by a $1.5 million grant made by the AT&T Foundation — the corporate philanthropy organization of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) — to LULAC. Progreso Hispano, through its participation in LULAC’s Empower Hispanic America with Technology initiative was awarded $20,000 to provide its center with computer equipment, office software, high-speed Internet access, video-conferencing equipment, technology curriculum, support, and instruction for its clients.

“LULAC is proud to partner with the AT&T Foundation and Progreso Hispano to deliver high speed technology services to Latinos through our 56 community technology centers,” said LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “The Hispanic community has an unprecedented opportunity to receive high-speed Internet access, computer equipment and basic office applications software to develop job skills, research career options, educational opportunities and other resources. We are excited about launching a new teleconference service in the 56 locations in addition to providing the technology we already have.”

Clients served by the community technology centers are low-income and/or first-generation Hispanic-American youth and adults. While a higher percentage of Hispanics are employed compared with any other ethnic group (64 percent employment rate versus 63 percent for the next highest, Current Population Survey, April 2006), Hispanics are far more likely than the average American to be among the working poor. In addition, according to a new study by Pew Hispanic Center, 53 percent of Hispanics who are not online indicate this is because they do not have access. Empower Hispanic America with Technology is aimed at combating these inequities by giving Hispanics the necessary skills, and access, to compete in today’s technology-driven workplaces.

“The computers help me look for a job and stay connected with my children in El Salvador,” said Maria Fuentes, one of Progreso Hispano’s clients. “Muchas Gracias. Thank you.”

AT&T and the AT&T Foundation support efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly initiatives with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. Since 1996, the AT&T Foundation has contributed more than $40 million in grants to organizations serving Hispanic communities across the country.

“People need telecommunications technology to compete in today’s workforce, to excel academically, and to have access to information,” said J. Michael Schweder, President, AT&T Mid-Atlantic Region. “We are proud to support programs that improve people’s lives and we are committed to extending the benefits of technology to everyone.”

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