Clinton calls U.S. to action on divide

President Bill Clinton on Tuesday called the digital divide an opportunity

to reduce poverty as he announced a "National Call to Action" to close it.

"We need not look at the digital divide as a threat," he said in a small

ceremony in the East Room of the White House. "It is the greatest opportunity

the United States of America has ever had to lift people out of poverty."

Clinton's Call to Action involves making "every child in every school" technology-literate,

ensuring that all Americans have access to technology, teaching people information

technology skills, and motivating them to understand the importance of technology.

Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman, Sen. Barbara Mikulsi (D-Md.) and Julian

Lacey, a volunteer at Plugged In, a technology center in East Palo Alto,

Calif. joined Clinton at the ceremony.

The President announced several initiatives:

* The Corporation for National Service will provide $12.5 million for "E-Corps,"

a new branch of the volunteer organization AmeriCorps. Volunteers will help

teach IT skills in schools and technology centers.

* Yahoo will provide $1 million worth of advertising to enlist volunteers

for E-Corps.

* 3-Com Corp. will launch a program called NetPrep GYRLS that will provide

14- to 16-year-old girls training in computer networking.

* The American Library Association will create or expand information literacy

programs in more than 250 communities nationwide.

Over 400 organizations, including Microsoft Corp., IBM and Intel Corp. have

pledged to support the National Call to Action, Clinton said.

Clinton also announced his third "New Markets" tour that will take him to

East Palo Alto, the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, N.M., and Chicago on April

17 and 18. Later this month, the president will also travel to rural North

Carolina discuss broadband Internet access to rural areas.

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