The Learning Resource Center at Rend Lake College has received a grant totaling $26,000 from Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White to enhance broadband computer access.

RLC's Learning Resource Center is one of 41 Illinois public libraries and community college learning resource centers sharing in a nearly $1 million "Eliminate the Digital Divide Program Grant" awarded to the Illinois State Library by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

Andrea Witthoft, Dean of Special Programs at RLC, said the funds will be used to provide equipment, training and services for broadband-delivered education, employment and reading services to the unemployed, children, seniors, minorities, persons with disabilities and others.

At Rend Lake College, the grant will be used to provide training classes in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to improve individuals' basic computer skills, according to Witthoft. Such skills are important to preparing people to enter the workforce, preparing students to participate in college programs or providing additional skills for job advancement.

In addition to the computer training classes, one-on-one assistance will be provided for community members using Illinois WorkNet, GEDi, Illinois Legal Aid Online and the National Library Service's Talking Book and Braille Service. Rend Lake College appreciates the opportunity to expand and enhance access to online resources and improve the technology literacy skills of our students and district residents.

"The digital divide prevents many low-income citizens from having access to important technology and educational programs that can greatly enrich their lives," said Secretary White. "Having access to information allows citizens to engage in lifelong learning, and these grants will allow Rend Lake College and other grant recipients to bridge the digital divide and offer critical services that will hopefully allow more Illinoisans to lead better, more productive lives."

For more information, contact Witthoft at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1277, or at .

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