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Equity & Access

Two SC Campuses to Add Community Tech Hubs

Two institutions in South Carolina will run technology hubs for underserved communities. The University of South Carolina system and Benedict College are part of a $6 million project to develop a network of eight learning labs with technology and learning services. These will be set in numerous locations, including at U of SC's Palmetto College campus and Benedict's campus, all located with 15 miles of a "broadband desert," as one participant put it. Funding will come from the state's Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) allocation.

Each campus will provide computer lab space and design educational programming to serve the communities in which they reside. Organizers said the project has selected Apple products, including Macs and iPads, to facilitate ease of use. The curriculum will include coding and app development and creativity and content creation, using Apple lessons. The sites will be available for use by faculty, staff, students and community members at no cost.

Benedict College already serves as a "Community Center for Coding and Creativity" in Tennessee State University's HBCU C2 program, which was designed to bring hands-on coding experiences to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and their communities.

"We are pleased to partner with the University of South Carolina to expand educational technology access to communities around the state," said Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Benedict College, in a statement. "Benedict College remains fully committed to narrowing the digital divide for underserved communities in our state. This is a tremendous step in the right direction."

"As the state's flagship institution, the University of South Carolina is committed to enhancing statewide economic and workforce development initiatives," added U of SC President Bob Caslen, in a statement. "By providing access to Apple's coding curriculum and emphasizing creative learning, this partnership is a game changer for our state. The educational programs and training at these learning centers will give South Carolinians relevant skills that are in high demand in today's economy."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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