Corinth to gain technology center

Area incubator, organizations to assist youth, adult education.

By Gary Perilloux

Daily Journal

A Corinth-based business incubator has received federal matching funds to create a more than $367,000 community technology network in the next year.

The effort will provide an estimated 1,000 students and adults access to technology and training. It will be located at the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubation System headquarters on Proper Street, in county school and vocational facilities and in a mobile facility.

The U.S. Department of Education approved a $187,122 grant this week that will be matched by more than $179,000 in in-kind local contributions during the next year.

"If we do well and meet the objectives, then certainly we plan to try to continue this (beyond 2002) through either the Department of Education - should they offer the same thing next year - or some other means," said Ray McClellan, executive director of the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubation System.

McClellan said educational and training initiatives will begin immediately through a collaboration of local agencies.

Partnering with the incubator are the Boys & Girls Club of Corinth-Alcorn County; Alcorn school systems; The Alliance; Horizon Inc.; Crossroads Reading Council; The Lighthouse Foundation; and a youth assets building committee working in conjunction with CREATE Inc.

Targeted training

The thrust of the community technology center will be targeted and mobile training, with after-school education and activities administered at the incubator offices at 1828 Proper St. and at school sites throughout the city, including the vocational-technical facility on Norman Road.

DSL, or digital subscriber line, service will be installed to aid broadband Internet access. A mobile technology van will travel to school sites to offer computer technology training for two hours a day after classes.

"We've got some really good programs that address a cross-section of our population here in the city, but it's heavily focused on the youth," McClellan said. "We're going to be providing the instruction, there will be classes offered, and an expansion of our existing computer training center."

Among the training offered will be computer lab courses from basic computer skills and word processing to spreadsheet software, Web design and desktop publishing.

For adults, basic education and GED preparation will be offered in enhanced settings.

"It will have a very strong youth component, but it will also address adult education for family literacy," McClellan said.

At the Boys & Girls Club, computer hardware and software will be upgraded for youth tutorials. And summer technology camps will be offered at a number of Alcorn County sites. Some of the funding will pay for instruction in the special courses.

Additionally, the incubator system will update its business resource library for adults looking for help in starting a business.

"We're going to try to have a broad section of classes that will be available on a scheduled basis," McClellan said of the technology effort, "but we'll also have scheduled access during the day for folks who just want to come in."

Funding likely would be extended if the community reaches its goal for training 1,000 youths and adults in the next year, he said.

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