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El Centrito Gets Grant for Training Program


El Centrito de la Colonia, a bilingual community service organization in Oxnard, was awarded a $439,145 three-year federal grant to expand its 7-year-old technological training programs.

Center directors earmarked the grant to help El Centrito, which targets the low-income community of La Colonia and downtown Oxnard, expand its afternoon youth programs into full-day programs for teenagers and families by authorizing the hiring of a full-time technology coordinator, said Luann Rocha, executive director.

El Centrito already operates two computer training centers, a school readiness program at the former Oxnard High School site and a satellite, after-school lab at La Colonia Recreation Center. A third, full-time lab is planned for a classroom close to the school readiness program.

The increased funding will also allow El Centrito to improve its Internet connections so that each of its planned 25 computers will be able to simultaneously access the Internet, Rocha said.

Financial restraints had limited participants' Internet usage to one terminal at a time, she said.

In addition, the grant will help pay for a half-time volunteer coordinator, Rocha said.

"Not many organizations got these grants," she said. "Many of the ones who got the grants were community colleges and libraries. For a community organization like ours to get funding speaks very highly of our organization."

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