Digital Opportunity Trust-USA (DOT-USA) has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation's Fund for Gulf Communities to provide technology training and job-search services to thousands of Gulf Coast families and individuals affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Rich Westfall, president of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, presented checks to DOT USA and eleven other nonprofit organizations that are doing exceptional work to help Coast families recover from the oil spill in grant ceremonies at the Knight Nonprofit Center in Gulfport on Thursday, September 22nd
The $100,000 grant, when combined with funding provided by the Mississippi Department of Employment Security, will enable DOT USA to provide approximately 17,000 Coast citizens, who face un-employment or under-employment because of the oil spill and economic downturn, training in computer technology and help in locating better-paying jobs utilizing their new computer skills.
"We appreciate this vote of confidence by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in our ability to give Coast citizens the technology training and job-search assistance they need," said Nuria Arias, Executive Director for DOT USA. "We are excited that this new grant allows us to expand the fine work we already have underway to retrain and assist workers affected by the oil spill."
"Our project addresses head-on the major need most displaced workers face: the need for re-training in a sector of the economy where better-paying jobs are available," explained Arias. "Improved computer skills are the number one avenue to better jobs in today's high-tech economy, and we are excited by this opportunity to give more Coast community members and individuals the 21st technology skills they need to recover and secure gainful employment."
Through this new partnership, DOT USA's TeachUp! Program will recruit and train 57 displaced workers to serve as full-time technology empowerment trainers and coaches at community sites along the Gulf Coast for the next year, where they will offer technology coaching and training to citizens, suffering from the economic downturn, and who seek help in upgrading their technology skills. DOT USA estimates that these 57 Technology Interns will help 17,000 Coast citizens improve their knowledge of 21st century technology tools and resources as well as professional and employment skills.
These TeachUp! Interns will work closely with 17,000 community members helping them to create digital resumes and find jobs by utilizing the Internet and computer technology to identify, seek and secure employment.
An increasing number of jobs require online job applications and the adults to be served in this program many times lack the skills and training for identifying these job openings and successfully applying online for these jobs. This project will enable DOT USA to deliver to 17,000 economically displaced adults one-one-one coaching in searching and applying for a new job.
This new partnership affirms the success that DOT USA has had over the last four years in helping retrain Gulf Coast citizens whose jobs were displaced by Hurricane Katrina and later by the oil spill. Over those four years, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security has contracted with DOT USA to provide technology empowerment training and job-search assistance to thousands of Coast citizens.
Earlier in 2011, the Rockefeller Fund awarded the Gulf Coast Community Foundation funding to underwrite the Fund for Gulf Communities that awarded grants to DOT USA and eleven other nonprofit organizations in order to continue preparing Gulf Coast Citizens for success in the workforce and life in a technology-driven world.