The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN) has announced its second wave of Public Computer Center (PCC) openings on St. Thomas and St. Croix. On Monday, June 17, the following new PCCs opened, free and available to the public, according to a press release issued on Tuesday by viNGN.
• Charles Turnbull Regional Library
• The Long Path Community Center
• Lovenlund Community Center
• St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
• Aureo Diaz Housing Community Center
• David C. Canegata Multi-Purpose Recreation Center
• Department of Human Services – Division of Senior Citizen Affairs Socio Rec Center
“I want to thank all of the new host organizations for partnering with viNGN and agreeing to house one of our Public Computer Centers within their facilities, and welcome them to the viNGN family,” said Larry Kupfer, president and CEO of viNGN. “This second wave of new PCCs joins those previously opened in reflecting viNGN’s on-going commitment under this grant to increase broadband usage and sustainability within the territory. I encourage the residents of the V.I. to go out and visit all of these new PCCs, especially our showcase PCC located at DPNR’s new Turnbull Regional Library, which features a state of the art facility including Mac’s, PC’s, and (2) 46’ big screen monitors making the room truly impressive. Additionally, some of our PCCs will also feature supplemental training classes and seminars providing a completely well-rounded and educational experience,” Kupfer said.
Residents of the territory are asked to sign up for the key component of the PCCs – the Digital Literacy Training Course by Sunday, June 30, to ensure that they are registered in the system to enable them to take the higher tiered courses. Later this summer, viNGN will present its third and final wave of PCC openings, which will include sites on St. John and several housing communities managed by the Virgin Islands Housing Authority.
“At this time, viNGN is focusing very heavily on educating the youth of the territory,” said Kevin Hughes, vice president of sales and marketing for viNGN. “With the closing of the schools for the summer, we are encouraging all parents of the territory to have their children (ages 12 and above) sign up for viNGN’s Digital Literacy Course and other educational courses offered @ www.vingn.com from either the convenience of their own homes or at one of the PCCs. We are also asking the various summer schools and summer camps throughout the territory to incorporate the Digital Literacy Training as part of their daily core activity schedules for the children as well. The course is free, convenient, and represents a beneficial and productive way for the youth of the territory to spend a portion of their summer having fun but also learning, which will benefit them greatly once school begins in the fall,” Hughes said.
Parents without a computer at home are encouraged to send their children to the closest Public Computer Center to their home. A complete listing of PCC locations is available on the viNGN Web site. After the children pass the basic Digital Literacy training course, they will then be able to access other courses such as English, Reading, K-12 Math, Science and a preparatory course for the S.A.T. When creating the required online account to access the Digital Literacy Training, parents and children should be sure to use the enrollment code “vistudents” when first setting up the account, to allow for proper processing of the child’s test scores. The "Digital Literacy Training" course is being made available through a partnership with viNGN, CyberLeaming Inc. and the National Education Foundation (NEF). At the end of the training, all participants receive a certificate of completion issued by the State University of New York (SUNY), one of the oldest, well-respected universities in the U.S.
“Our PCCs provide a great deal of value to the community, and we want both children and their parents visiting the PCCs and participating in Digital Literacy training,” Hughes said. “We are also asking the veterans, and especially the seniors of our community who do not have computers at home, to consider visiting their nearest PCC, which could assist them greatly with regards to accessing copies of their social security check stubs and other pertinent information, which is now only accessible on-line. Additionally, several of our PCCs also feature equipment to aid the deaf and the hearing impaired with accessing the internet. In addition to creating a safe place for learning and education for the public, our centers will also deliver a high standard of friendly and knowledgeable customer service, to all who attend. Before time runs out, we ask that everyone take advantage of the great opportunities viNGN’s PCCs have to offer,” Hughes said.
The viNGN was established in 2010 as a public corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority (VIPFA). It is funded primarily through four grants provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) program to improve the broadband capacity in the United States, its territories and the District of Columbia. The program is called the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Local matching funds were provided by the PFA to support the full development of viNGN’s four broadband programs and viNGN as an ongoing enterprise.
For more information regarding viNGN, the Public Computer Centers and viNGN’s products and services call 715-8581. Visit viNGN online @ www.vingn.com and on Facebook and Twitter.