Governor McMaster announces allocation of GEER funds to create community computer labs

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– On Tuesday, Governor Henry McMaster announced that $6 million in the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funds will go towards establishing eight community computer labs throughout the state. The governor says the funds were awarded to the University of South Carolina, who will partner with Benedict College to create these Apple computer labs.

The governor says these computer labs will be strategically placed for use by local school districts, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the South Carolina Technical College System and citizens in the community.

“The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that internet access is not a luxury but a necessity for millions of South Carolinians,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “The strategic placement of these labs will bolster South Carolina’s premier workforce training efforts by giving our communities and people access to resources they need to expand participation in our state’s growing economy.”

Officials say the network will include hubs in Columbia’s BullStreet District and at Benedict College, along with satellite labs at six of UofSC’s Palmetto College and regional campuses, which officials say are located within 15 miles of a broadband desert.

“As the state’s flagship institution, the University of South Carolina is committed to enhancing statewide economic and workforce development initiatives,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen. “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. We are proud to partner with Governor McMaster, Apple and Benedict College in this mission by investing in underserved communities across the state.”

Officials say these labs will include computer space, maintenance and utilities. The labs will be free to use by the public.

The money for this project comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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