Great Valley Center Announces Initiative to Spur Economic Development, Education and Technological Literacy for Residents in Pixley

Initiative Made Possible by a $600,000 Grant from the AT&T Foundation

Pixley, California, May 4, 2006

The Great Valley Center today announced a wide-ranging technology and educational initiative that will be implemented in rural Tulare County. To demonstrate the value and viability of advanced technology access in rural communities, the Pixley Connect project will provide training, technical support and other services to help Pixley residents and businesses make the most of high speed Internet applications. The project is made possible by a three-year $600,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation.

"Regardless of where they live, all residents of the Valley should have fast access to information, the global economy, and each other," said Carol Whiteside, president of the Great Valley Center. "Equally as important as access, however, is ensuring people know how to use these new technologies. The AT&T Foundation's investment in training and education for the residents of Pixley is a significant step toward spanning the digital divide."

Goals for the project include improving the quality of life and the basic level of service available to the residents of Pixley; computer-literacy training for children and their parents; supporting the creation of community-based economic development through online business support and marketing opportunities; and improving access to community-support services.

The first year will include development of curriculum and training, in Spanish and English, designed to teach computer and Internet use. The funding will establish a Community Technology Center (CTC) at the Community Services Employment and Training Center, and outreach will be conducted to the parents of sixth-grade students to encourage enrollment in computer-training classes. As a result, the first class for parents of sixth-grade students who have successfully completed training and established computer literacy will be awarded computers for home use. Subsequent-years funding will allow for technical support services for the CTC and schools, in addition to customized in-home and businesses support.

"AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have a long-standing tradition of reaching out to underserved populations across California, including many rural communities," said Eric Johnson, executive director of AT&T External Affairs. "We're proud to be associated with the Pixley Connect project — one that we believe could become a model not only for other parts of the state on the value of high speed broadband in rural areas but also for other parts of the U.S."

Today's grant presentation was made at the Pixley Community Center.

Although unable to attend the event, State Sen. Dean Florez added, "With this grant, the residents of Pixley will have not only access to the latest in technology, but even more important, the essential education and training that are needed in order to take full advantage of what this technology has to offer. I'd like to thank AT&T for its continued commitment to communities like Pixley and for its support of critical programs in education and technology."

"This is a wonderful initiative that has come to Pixley," said Michael R. Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission. "The Commission is a strong supporter of robust advances in technology and of ensuring universal service, and this project brings both of those elements together. In fact, the newly formed California Emerging Technology Fund, created by the Commission, will develop similar programs throughout California to serve more rural and low-income urban communities."

About the Great Valley Center:
The Great Valley Center is a Modesto-based nonprofit organization that supports activities and organizations promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of California's Central Valley in partnership with the University of California, Merced. The Center receives major support from The James Irvine Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

The new AT&T Foundation:
the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The new AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country. The new AT&T Foundation combines more than 40 years and $1.7 billion of philanthropic commitment to communities across the country.

About AT&T
AT&T Inc. is one of the world's largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with 55.8 million wireless customers. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and AT&T products and services is available at

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