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April 3, 2002

Governor Announces $6.8 Million in Technology Grants
Building technology in Illinois from the community - up

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced grants totaling approximately $6.8 million as part of his continuing effort to support the state’s technology infrastructure, workforce and local communities.

The grants include more than $1.1 million through the High Technology School-to-Work program; $500,000 for the Eliminate the Digital Divide program; and two, $2 million grants to Argonne National Laboratory for work on the Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA) Science Center and the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM).

“The recipients of these grants are broad based, from communities where access to technology is limited, to the most advanced laboratories in the world,” said Governor Ryan. “It’s crucial for the state to support not only the centers which will yield the next generation of technological innovations, but also the classrooms where the next generation of technology and business leaders are developing.”

The RIA Center is seen as an important incentive in the competition to attract the U.S. Department of Energy’s proposed $850 million Rare Isotope Accelerator (RIA) to Illinois. The RIA is a concept seen as essential to continued scientific research into the basic questions about the origin of the elements and how stars explode, and holds promise for important applications to medicine, industry, and other applied physics research. It is estimated that locating the RIA in Illinois could add another $200 million each year to the Illinois economy, and also open new doors of opportunity to Illinois scientists and students. As a demonstration of Illinois’ strong desire to be home to the Department of Energy’s RIA facility, Governor Ryan proposed $13 million in his Fiscal Year 2003 budget for its construction at Argonne National Laboratories.

Argonne Director Hermann Grunder said, “Argonne’s continuing partnership with the State of Illinois is contributing not only to the advancement of knowledge but to the economic growth of Illinois and the entire nation. The Rare Isotope Accelerator is an important facility for science, and the state’s investment in the Science Center will enhance that effort.”

In addition, Argonne is receiving $2 million for the design phase of the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM), one of five nanoscale science research centers proposed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The CNM will accelerate the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology by developing and supporting advanced facilities for the synthesis and characterization of nanostructures for both internal and external users.

The goal of the School-to-Work initiative, which the Governor signed into law last August, is to increase the number of students who opt to enter occupations requiring advanced skills in the areas of science, mathematics, and advanced technology, combining traditional classroom instruction with real-life learning in on-the-job settings.

This year’s High Technology School-to-Work Program is providing grants to a total of five employers and associations from technology-based industries in partnership with local educational institutions. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs (DCCA) administers the program.

“Today’s workplace is more complex and technically oriented than ever before,” said DCCA Director Pam McDonough. “The fact that some of these students have already started their own business, and are contributing to our TechDay events and to their community, proves that this kind of experience is a key ingredient in the development of our future workforce.”

MetaDyne Networks is a small web development partnership, started by high school students as a result of a High Technology School-To-Work program. This particular program was funded by a grant to TeraSys, through the Naperville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Wheaton Community Unit District 200. TeraU, TeraSys' student training program, educated the students in business and technology skills enabling them to organize and form the partnership. MetaDyne Networks designed the official web pages for this year’s TechDay, http://www.commerce.state.il.us/tech/.

The Governor also announced the awarding of 12 grants totaling approximately $500,000 through the Eliminate the Digital Divide Program.

The “Eliminate the Digital Divide Law” was created in 2000 and was significantly expanded through the re-write of the Telecommunications Article of the Public Utilities Act last year. The program provides resources to organizations to help plan, establish, administer and expand Community Technology Centers (CTCs) to serve residents in many low-income communities in Illinois.

In addition, Governor Ryan announced that Midwest Technology Access Group (MTAG) has been awarded nearly $1.2 million in grants to assist community organizations and technology centers throughout the state in closing the “digital divide”.

MTAG, and its consortium partners, will provide greater training resources for hundreds of community technology centers and assist in expanding the breadth of their connections to educational, economic development, community development and health Agencies.

The Illinois Commerce Commission required, as a condition of the merger of SBC and Ameritech Illinois in 1999, that the telecommunications company provide funding for community computer centers.

Illinois Commerce Commission Chairman Richard Mathias, said he was pleased to see that a network of community computer centers has come together to better meet the needs of Illinois citizens and thanked SBC Ameritech for its financial support of the effort.

“The fund and the organization have matured to the point that they will make a real difference as local communities move to connect to broader networks and expand opportunities for community planning, educating and evaluation,” he said.

Carrie Hightman, president of SBC Ameritech Illinois, added that the grant program will benefit Illinois communities across the state for years to come by making available badly needed resources for community technology centers, “Online resources and technical assistance will enable grassroots technology centers to better serve their communities,” she said.

A list of grantees follows.

High Technology School to Work
Johnson County Chamber of Commerce $316,604
John Deere Harvester Works $82,670
Packer Engineering Company $218,256
Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and Industry $194,765
Three Rivers Manufacturing Association $313,976
Eliminate the Digital Divide
Jones Memorial Community Center (Chicago Heights) $39,248
Erie Neighborhood House (Chicago) $41,816
Adams/Pike Regional Office of Education (Quincy) $44,239
Jewish Vocational Service (Chicago) $26,768
Regional Office of Education 02 (Cairo) $50,000
Chinese American Service League (Chicago) $37,168
Time Dollar Tutoring Time (Chicago) $35,158
Board of Trustees University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago) $47,190
South Suburban YMCA (Harvey) $44,799
Northwestern University Settlement Association (Chicago) $49,970
OAI, Inc. (Chicago) $48,275
Central States SER (Chicago) $35,300


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