W.Va., Microsoft set up pilot for senior citizens

West Virginia, a state technical school and Microsoft Corp. have set up a technology training pilot program for the state's senior citizens.

Microsoft donated $125,000 worth of hardware, software and consulting support to launch the program, which will be directed by the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services and administered by the Marshall Technology Institute.

The pilot program has launched training sites in Charleston, Martinsburg, Fairmont and Rupert, W.Va. The program is aimed at helping the state's growing number of senior citizens maintain their independence by becoming adept at using computers to seek information and purchase goods and services.

"Seniors today are more active than ever before in many different professional, community, personal and technological arenas," said Gov. Cecil Underwood (R), who, at 77, is the nation's oldest governor. "The new West Virginia Seniors Technology Training Program will provide West Virginia senior citizens with the training and resources they need to be empowered through technology. This project is an invaluable tool to use West Virginia."

The classes, which will target 2,000 senior citizens in the first year, will use an array of hardware covered by the Microsoft grant, including 40 Dell Computer Corp. multimedia computers with 17-inch monitors loaded with Microsoft programs.

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