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Morino Institute From Access to Outcomes: Digital Divide Report and Dialogue
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Making the Case for Technology Within the Community




Jan 16, 2001


Carlos Manjarrez

Coming at this issue from a slightly different angle.... I believe that the need to convince community agencies of the utility of information technology is slightly overstated. Community leaders are rational people who are very capable of reading the writing on the wall with respect to the information revolution and, for the most part, they understand the benefits that can accrue from greater use of IT in their own agencies (they may not understand all the details of how it should be done, but I believe they get the larger picture.)

The problem as I see it, is that these same folks are also acutely aware of the associated costs. The agencies I work with worry about the stuff that very few program officers will talk about, such as the skills mismatch between their current staff and any newly adopted technologies, they worry about finding competent, affordable, tech labor in a tight labor market, and they worry about finding money for the inevitable hardware upgrades. These problems are vexing enough, but if you add the fact that few foundations are willing to support these rather resource intensive needs, then one can see that an agency's reluctance to jump in with both feet is indeed quite reasonable.


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