SmartChicago Public Computer Centers
Organization: City of Chicago
Project Name: SmartChicago Public Computer Centers
Project Type: Public Computer Center
Federal Award: $8,974,283
ABOUT THE PROJECT
According to a 2009 study commissioned by the City of Chicago, as many as 40 percent of city residents lack home broadband access, making libraries and other public computer centers essential resources for employment, training, and educational opportunities. Over 60 percent of Chicago libraries now report average wait times for a computer of three hours or longer. The SmartChicago Public Computer Centers project proposes a wide-scale upgrade and expansion of workstation capacity at more than 150 locations, including city libraries, community colleges, public housing sites, workforce centers, senior centers, after-school programs, and other community locations throughout Chicago. The project will provide hundreds of thousands of hours of training, including digital literacy instruction and assistance for job seekers. The project plans a specific focus on low-income residents, at-risk youth, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and the unemployed.
SmartChicago also proposes to:
- Deploy as many as 2,500 new workstations and upgrade up to 870 more workstations in 20 new and 131 upgraded computer centers and increase public access to computer centers by up to 590 hours per week, which can accomodate an estimated 200,000 additional weekly users.
- Train as many as 20,000 residents with up to 100,000 hours of teacher-led training annually over the two-year life of the project.
- Operate a public computing center at each of the seven City Colleges of Chicago: Richard J. Daley College; Harold Washington College; Kennedy-King College; Malcolm X College; Olive Harvey College; Harry S Truman College; and Wilbur Wright College.
- Initiate computer centers at all six of the city’s Community Service Centers and new libraries in Dunning, Greater Grand Crossing, Little Village, West Humboldt Park, and West Town, and will significantly increase capacity at the Harold Washington Library Center, Sulzer Regional Library, and Woodson Regional library.
- Complement the SmartChicago Sustainable Broadband Adoption project funded in Round One by bolstering computing center capacity for use by individuals and businesses reached by broadband outreach and awareness initiatives.
The City of Chicago has provided public access computers as a regular part of library and other city services for over 15 years. The City’s Department of Innovation and Technology is the central organization for IT strategy, architecture, and systems for virtually all technology projects undertaken by public agencies in Chicago, and has extensive experience managing federal funds. View 2011 updates here.
May 2013 Update
- Purchased 316 laptops and 11 laptop carts for City of College of Chicago (CCC) PCCs.
- Completed construction for 4 CCC satellite campus computer labs and 1 CHA PCC and installed furniture.
- Published digital articles for and in conjunction with the Chicago Chamber of Commerce to promote Connect Chicago partners and Internet Essentials.
- Digital Skills initiative team began conversations with CCC leadership about collaboration to transition PCC patrons from basic digital literacy to higher level digital skills.
- Hosted Connected Chicago meet-up to discuss Technology, Arts Education, and Workforce Development.
- Weconnectchicago.org received 11,855 visits, 9,298 unique visitors, and 52,109 page views.
- Partnered with FamilyWorks providers to conduct various programs in CHA PCC such as, job clubs, resume writing, and financial planning workshops.
- Maintained and supported interface with open LMS system, based on Moodle, to support shared curriculum platform for instructors.
- Provided instructor-led courses at 5 CPL branches, 5 workforce centers, 3 youth centers, and 6 CHA PCCs.
- Completed 60 organizational orientations and 12 tech assessments for Community Technology Center(CTC) support network.
- Hosted 20 workshops/networking events for 156 CTC participants.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Public Computing Centers (PCC) Operational: 121 of 150
- PCC Workstations Added or Upgraded: 2,156 of 2500
- Average Number of Users Per Week at PCC: 89,533 of 200,000
- Federal Dollars Invested: $5.8 Million of $8.9 Million
- State and Private/Local Dollars Invested: $3 Million of $3.8 Million
- Direct Jobs Created: 32.63
September 2012 Update
- Installed accessible software and hardware at 11 Chicago Community College (CCC) PCC.
- Completed renovations at three Community Service Centers.
- Deployed 320 laptops with LibreOffice at all Chicago Public Library (CPL) branches.
- Finalized publicity plan and press release for all CCC PCC labs.
- Delivered school-year youth programs for pre-school, elementary, middle/high school youth at two Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) labs.
- Delivered summer youth programs at four CHA locations.
- Partnered with three non-profits to conduct after school, girls, and family programs at CHA PCCs.
- Established suite of Digital Skills Initiative classes at six CPL branches.
- Continued Geek Squad/Chicago Public Schools high-school tech support pilot program; currently, 25 high school students can now assist Geek Squad with Community Technology Center support.
- Upgraded and optimized Tech Locator to include a back-end administrative function and aligned with marketing campaign website, weconnectchicago.org.
- Implemented first Smart Health Center site at Erie Family Health Center.
- Created campaign materials including logos, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) bus ads, and bus shelter ads.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Public Computing Centers (PCC) Operational: 107 of 150
- PCC Workstations Added or Upgraded: 1,445 of 2500
- Average Number of Users Per Week at PCC: 88,774 of 200,000
- Federal Dollars Invested: $4.3 Million of $8.9 Million
- State and Private/Local Dollars Invested: $2.8 Million of $3.8 Million
- Direct Jobs Created: 31.26
June 2012 Update
- Purchased 170 computers for four City College (CCC) Public Computing Centers (PCC).
- Completed construction renovations at two Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) PCC.
- Upgraded eight Chicago Public Library (CPL) PCC.
- Completed build-out at two CCC locations.
- Installed more than 200 new PCC.
- Conducted outreach related to the Digital Skills Initiative, integration and marketing with CCC programs, awareness campaigns, class schedules, and site visits.
- Selected marketing campaign slogan “Connect Chicago” and obtained domain name of weconnectchicago.org.
- Conducted trainings for lab assistants and launched youth pilot programs in CHA PCC.
- Trained more than 800 residents through self-paced online courses and instructor-led courses.
- Assisted 24,254 patrons in one-on-one CPL Cyber Navigators Sessions.
- Launched Community Technology Center Connect web site.
- Recruited 11 CTC to the Connect program.
- Identified sites for possible Smart Health Center expansion, and deployed equipment at one Smart Health Center.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Public Computing Centers (PCC) Operational: 145 of 150
- PCC Workstations Added or Upgraded: 1,348 of 2500
- Average Number of Users Per Week at PCC: 52,296 of 200,000
- Federal Dollars Invested: $2.9 Million of $8.9 Million
- State and Private/Local Dollars Invested: $1.5 Million of $3.8 Million
- Direct Jobs Created: 26.27
- Updated 14 Chicago Public Library (CPL) branch Public Computing Centers (PCC) to 10Mbps OPT-E-MAN Fiber Optic service.
- Installed 69 Laptop safes at CPL PCC.
- Received 100 projectors for CPL PCC.
- Began receiving and imaging 344 laptops for CPL PCC.
- Delivered over 400 computers to youth and workforce agency PCC.
- Plans were finalized for three Family Support Services PCC locations.
- Solicited online survey input on resources available at PCC sites.
- Researched best practice information for youth and senior citizen training programs.
- Tested online curriculum, volunteer tracking, and participant tracking systems for the Digital Skills Initiative.
- Travelled to all PCC locations for pre-site survey visit for training implementation.
- Executed Digital Skills Initiative contract.
- Upgraded 34 computers and added in wireless capabilities at one Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) PCC.
- Installed 28 new computers and furniture, and installed wireless capabilities in one new CHA PCC.
- Conducted youth programs for preschool, elementary, middle school, and high school youth at two CHA PCC.
- Provided instructor-led courses and access to computers for self-paced online courses at two CHA PCC.
- Hosted grand opening at new CHA PCC.
- Installed 140 new computers at two City College PCC locations.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Public Computing Centers (PCC) Operational: 152 of 150 (as of 12/31/11)
- PCC Workstations Added or Upgraded: 969 of 2500 (as of 12/31/11)
- Average Number of Users Per Week at PCC: 49,825 of 200,000 (as of 12/31/11)
- Federal Dollars Invested: $1.2 Million of $8.9 Million
- State Dollars Invested: $413,633 of $$1.5 Million (as of 12/31/11)
- Private/Local Dollars Invested: $548,531 of $2.3 Million (as of 12/31/11)
- Direct Jobs Created: 14.6