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Thursday, 19 July 2007 15:22
IBM, the Native American Chamber of Commerce, SeniorNet and the U.S. Department of the Interior Open Technology Achievement Center for Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Organizations Collaborate in the “Hope and Harmony for Humanity” Initiative to Bring Free Computer Access and Training to Rural Minnesota Reservation

CASS LAKE, MN, June 28, 2007 – Furthering its effort to bring technology access and education to underserved populations, the ‘Hope and Harmony for Humanity Initiative’ sponsored by IBM, and including the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED), the Native American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) and SeniorNet, the nation’s leading technology educator of older adults, today announced the opening of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Achievement Center located at the Elder Nutrition Program (6212 Upper Cass Frontage Road, N.W. Cass Lake, MN 56633).

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Achievement Center is the second of five Achievement Centers to be opened during the next two years as part of ‘Hope and Harmony for Humanity,’ a collaborative, grant-based initiative of IBM, the NACC, the U.S. Department of the Interior and SeniorNet, designed to bring computer technology access and education to low-income and remote Native American reservations across the United States. The first such Achievement Center was opened in September 2006 on the Blackfeet Nation in Browning, Montana.

The Lenovo PC-based Achievement Center opening today at the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will offer computer and Internet access, education and training for reservation residents of all ages. In addition to computer training ranging from introductory to advanced courses, the Achievement Center will serve as an education center for the reservation’s community, offering classes on topics such as Family History and Genealogy, Health, Language Training, Work Skills, and Tutoring, as well as a host of life skills and enrichment curriculum.

The Ojibwe Achievement Center is also a Microsoft ‘Unlimited Potential’ grant recipient, an initiative to provide all people with the opportunity and skills to use the power of technology to access information, to communicate and collaborate with others, and to achieve their personal and professional goals. Through the program, Microsoft provides solutions and tools that suit the unique needs of each community. To that end, the Achievement Center will provide training and coursework on Microsoft Office programs, thus equipping them for real-world workplace situations and personal advancement.

“While we’ve made great strides over the past 20 years to bridge the ‘Digital Divide’ by bringing computer technology access and education to older adults across the country, Native American populations living in rural and low-income communities are still left behind,” said Kristin Fabos, executive director, SeniorNet. “This Achievement Center is one more step toward bridging the Digital Divide and empowering the underserved with the life-changing benefits of technology.”

“The U.S. Department of the Interior has been a vital partner in the ‘Hope and Harmony for Humanity’ initiative,” said Leslie M. Smith, business development executive, IBM and SeniorNet board chairman. “Their support, along with that of the NACC, SeniorNet and IBM gives Native American communities equal access to the latest technology, curriculum and resources so that they too may participate in the Information Age.”

“We are very excited about the addition of the Achievement Center to our community,” said Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Chairman George Goggleye. “It (the Achievement Center) will provide a place for people of all ages to learn about technology, our culture, as well as valuable life and career skills. We’re very thankful to each of these organizations for providing us with this great asset.”

In addition, in an effort to promote reading among the reservation’s grades K-12 students, the SeniorNet online Book Club (www.seniornet.org) has also organized a book donation program whereby they will procure and coordinate the donation and shipment of books to the Achievement Center.

About IBM
IBM is the world's largest information technology company, with over 80 years of leadership in helping businesses innovate. Drawing on resources from across IBM and key Business Partners, IBM offers a wide range of services, solutions and technologies that enable customers, large and small, to take full advantage of the new era of e-business. For more information about IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

About the Native American Chamber of Commerce (NACC)
The Native American Chamber of Commerce (www.namcham.org) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the Native American business community through charitable, cultural and educational programs and initiatives for current and future generations. NACC is a growing 501(c)(3) organization with a combined membership of over 500 corporate and American Indian owned enterprises with members in 31 States. One of only thirteen Native American Chambers in the United States, NACC assists both corporations and small businesses profit through numerous programs.

About SeniorNet
Founded in 1986, SeniorNet is an international non-profit organization that has taught hundreds of thousands of adults age 50+ to use computers and the Internet and has enriched the lives of millions through its award-winning website, www.seniornet.org. With a thriving online community and a network of more than 200 locally run Learning Centers in the U.S. and abroad staffed by more than 3,500 volunteers, SeniorNet offers both offline and online destinations to a population that was originally neglected in the information revolution. With sponsorship by major corporations and foundations, private and public donations, and a backbone of individual members and contributors, SeniorNet continues to grow and offer new opportunities to those touched by its mission. SeniorNet headquarters is located in Santa Clara, CA.

For more information, contact:

Kristin Fabos
Executive Director
SeniorNet
900 Layette Street, Suite 604
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Tel: 408-615-0699
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