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California Connects equips LMC’s MESA students with laptops, software and Internet access to train others in their communities

March 8, 2011

Media Contact: Barbara Cella, Director of Marketing, (925) 473-7322

Program Contact: Carol Hernandez, MESA Director, 925-439-2181 x3437

Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) students at Los Medanos College (LMC) have been awarded laptops on March 8th as part of a statewide program designed to increase digital literacy rates among underserved communities in California. The laptops, which have also beien distributed to students at 32 other community colleges throughout the state, come fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology provided by many of today’s top communications and technology companies, including Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, AT&T and Insight Technology Solutions. With laptops in hand, students will prepare for training members of the community who otherwise would not have access to or knowledge of navigating the Internet.

At Los Medanos College, 70 MESA students will ultimately receive laptops from campus officials. The laptops were provided through California Connects, a federally funded statewide program designed to increase digital literacy and broadband access among underserved communities. California Connects is funded by a $10.9 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Approximately 3,000 students at community colleges throughout the state have earned laptop computers by agreeing to train others over the coming months, including those at Los Medanos College.

MESA students receiving laptops through the California Connects program will be provided hands-on training in the coming months to prepare them for educating others on how to gain access to and navigate the Internet, all in an effort to increase California's broadband Internet users by more than 61,000 individuals over the next three years and positively impact the digital divide that still exists in many communities. In the coming months, MESA students will use the applications they’ve learned to teach new broadband users how to use the Internet for essential tasks such as securing gainful employment, exploring higher education opportunities, accessing health and finance resources, utilizing social networks and advancing their general quality of life.

Additional details about the California Connects program are available at www.CAconnects.org.

For more information about LMC’s MESA program, visit www.losmedanos.edu/mesa/.

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Los Medanos College (LMC) is one of three colleges in the Contra Costa Community College District. LMC prepares students to excel and succeed economically, socially and intellectually in an innovative, engaging and supportive learning environment. It provides quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities to serve the needs of a rapidly growing and changing East County while enhancing the quality of life of the diverse communities it serves. LMC is located on 120 acres between Pittsburg and Antioch, with an additional education center in Brentwood.