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Promoting Economic Development




Feb 22, 2001


Nick Gleason


Sorry for being slow to respond.

This list-serve is music to my ears and I have a few quick thoughts.

First, I am aware of quite a number urban training centers that focus on web training. Those organizations are our feeders at CitySoft, so we try to find as many as possible. Part of the rationale for starting the non-profit, CitySkills, was to help these and other training organizations learn from our experiences and from each other. We eventually convened a group of the best training centers for our area (urban adult web/programming training). Of those groups, the ones that I am in closest contact with are as follows:

  • Homeboyz Interactive (Milwaukee, Chicago, Camden) -
  • IC Stars (Chicago) -
  • OpNet (SF) -
  • Bavac (SF) - (I think)
  • Catalyst (Baltimore)
  • Playing2Win (NY - also, a CTCNet member) -
  • Universal Business and Media School (NY)
We estimate that over the last few years these groups have trained and placed over 500 folks into new economy jobs.

Also, in Boston, several programs are developing good web training this year - Year Up (, Training, Inc., and the local Urban League.

CitySkills ( is getting ready to launch a directory of many urban training centers and we hope that this will help identify work in the field.

As Randall mentioned, there are also groups like Plugged In Enterprises who do great work with younger people. CitySoft and CitySkills don't focus as much on partnering with youth oriented groups, but they are certainly a part of the overall discussion.

Although I feel like we have a good handle on a lot of training centers in the areas where we operate (Boston, NY, Baltimore), I don't feel like we have done a good enough job connecting with technical schools or community colleges. We are just starting to see some folks coming from community colleges in Baltimore, which is great. But, we would like to do a lot more with CCs in the coming years.

In terms of your comments in previous emails, I do want to be slightly contrarian and say that I DO think that digital divide initiatives should focus much more on real technical job training and placement. There are lots of folks from Roxbury, Harlem, and East Baltimore (and a lot of other places) who can and should be in the new economy!! I hear what you are saying about many residents of urban areas not having some of the prerequisites for new economy jobs. But, many do, especially if you don't focus primarily on the poorest of the poor.

Your concept of the blue color jobs of the new economy is right on the money. One of our best designers is a guy who worked as an assistant to the bank tellers at Fleet. Now he's doing much more high level work and making more money. I think we could replicate that many times under the right circumstances. The main problem is that the training preparation tends to be totally inadequate for our needs. A lot of the digital divide money is going into the wrong places. But, this is a fixable situation. I can write more about our experiences with training if anyone is interested.


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