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HP and Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation Celebrate First Anniversary of Houston i-Community Program

$3 million HP grant helps Houston's 5th Ward bridge the digital divide and foster economic development
HOUSTON, Sept. 14, 2004

HP and the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (Fifth Ward CRC) today celebrated the first anniversary of the Houston i-community program, highlighting the successful implementation of technology access points throughout Houston's 5th Ward. Founded on a three-year, $3 million grant that HP awarded the Fifth Ward CRC last year, the program is designed to promote economic and social development through access to technology.

Fifth Ward CRC, also celebrating its 15-year anniversary, will be commemorating the event by breaking ground on the 5th Ward Technology and Workforce Development Center, a 32,000-square-foot technology center funded by donations from HP, the Houston Community College system and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

"Fifth Ward CRC, in conjunction with HP, has made great inroads over the past year in making the 5th Ward a better place to live, work and play," said Kathy Flanagan Payton, president and chief executive officer, Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation. "Today's milestone is just another on the path to restoring economic vitality to the community."

The one-year anniversary marks the achievement of objectives outlined in a three-year strategic plan created last year by HP and the Fifth Ward CRC in cooperation with the 5th Ward community. As part of the plan, the program partners installed several new technology access points (TAPs) throughout the 5th Ward. In the first of three phases, the project team installed TAPs in five separate facilities:

  • The Lyons Village TAP was developed to provide area businesses and organizations with a multi-purpose computer lab. The lab is ideal for private and small group training and offers advanced training classes to the public.

  • The Fifth Ward Multi Service Center TAP was developed through an agreement between the i-community project and the City of Houston. The TAP will enable lab users to access the Internet and Web-enabled office productivity tools.

  • The Phoenix Outreach Youth Center received HP equipment and services for training and tutoring programs, including basic computer classes for children. HP donated workstations, notebooks and wireless connectivity technology to the center.

  • Pleasant Hill Village, a housing facility for independent, low-income seniors, received HP equipment for its technology lab. Residents use the lab for a variety of tasks, including filling online prescriptions, paying bills and developing other Internet usage skills.

  • Prince Complex, a facility targeted to artists and athletes, received HP equipment and services to back its programs centered on computer literacy, e-learning, community stability, "edu-tainment" and economic self-reliance.

In conjunction with the TAPs, the Houston i-community team piloted an internship program for high school aged youth in order to help combat the high unemployment and high school dropout rates in the 5th Ward. Called the College Bound Technology Entrepreneur Summer Internship, the six-week program provides technology training and certification, professional development classes and part-time employment for 16 area high school students to work as lab assistants in the TAPs to deliver desktop support services to lab users.

"HP is extremely proud of the first year accomplishments achieved with the Fifth Ward CRC, our main Houston i-community partner," said Janiece Evans-Page, director, e-inclusion and global solutions, Philanthropy and Education, HP. "HP's e-inclusion mission is to close the gap between technology-empowered communities and technology-excluded communities in Houston and around the world. We look forward to building on the successes of our initial foray into the 5th Ward, and continuing our work in equipping residents with skills and capabilities that improve their quality of life and potential for success."

"Bridging the digital divide through corporate partnerships can have long-term and multi-functional consequences, all of which are extremely positive," said Houston City Council Member Carol Mims Galloway. "In the short term, our youth immediately benefit from access to state-of-the-art hardware, seamless and swift Internet access, and quality leadership and training. In the long range, this access prepares them to be competitive at every level in any field. On behalf of future generations of 5th Ward residents, I thank Fifth Ward CRC and HP for all they do for our youth."

The i-community in Houston builds on successful HP Digital Villages and i-communities including projects in East Palo Alto, Calif.; Baltimore, Md.; and tribal communities in southern California; India; and South Africa.

More information on the HP e-inclusion program is available at http://www.hp.com/e-inclusion/en/index.html.

About Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation

In 1989 5th Ward residents, civic leaders, business owners, ministers and educators established Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation to breathe new life into the neighborhood. Fifth Ward CRC has a long history of providing quality development projects and services, which include counseling, technical assistance, capital and financing alternatives and development. Today, Fifth Ward CRC is broadly recognized as a national leader and is frequently sited as a model for community redevelopment. For more information visit the website at http://www.fifthwardcrc.org.

About HP

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended July 31, 2004, HP revenue totaled $78.4 billion. More information about HP (NYSE, Nasdaq: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com.

About HP

HP Inc. creates technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere. Through our portfolio of printers, PCs, mobile devices, solutions, and services, we engineer experiences that amaze. More information about HP Inc. is available at http://www.hp.com.