A public housing complex in Pacoima will be the first in Los Angeles outfitted with a computer learning center that city officials hope will develop job skills and literacy.
San Fernando Gardens, a 448-unit apartment development owned and operated by the Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles, will dedicate its new computer center Thursday. The center boasts six new personal computers equipped with high-speed processors and CD-ROM drives, all hooked to a laser printer.
It is the first of seven such computer centers installed at city-owned housing developments, said Jack Ma, computer center coordinator at San Fernando Gardens. The centers are part of the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's "Campus of Learners" initiative launched last year to introduce education and job-training programs to public housing developments.
The computers have been loaded with a variety of software designed to aid some of the 1,900 residents at the housing complex, including job-search assistance, English language education programs and programs to help residents complete their high school equivalency degrees.
"We'll also teach basic computer skills, keyboarding, word processing and desktop publishing," said Ma, who is now recruiting computer-literate residents of the complex to work as training assistants. "There is a lot of educational stuff too, including spelling programs, some basic math, and geography. . . . The main thing is to get them familiar and comfortable with it, and not to be intimidated by the technology."
Mario Matute, senior case manager at the complex, said the computers will be in high demand. "There are already a lot of people coming in and asking to sign up," Matute said. "They wore the old ones out!" Matute added, referring to six used Macintoshes donated by Harvard-Westlake High School.
The dedication is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the San Fernando Gardens Community Center, 10896 Lehigh Ave.