On Saturday, November 15, nearly 100 people from the Community Service Society (CSS), The State University of New York (SUNY) and residents of the Dr. Betty Shabazz Complex gathered to cut the ribbon establishing the new ATTAIN (Advanced Technology Training and Information Network) Lab, a state-of-the-art technology located in the Dr. Betty Shabazz Complex at 700 Gates Avenue in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
The opening of the lab is yet another milestone in the restoration and resurgence of this neighborhood. Over the past seven years, residents of the complex and their neighbors from the Medgar Evers Houses have been engaged in a comprehensive community revitalization initiative with the assistance of their nonprofit partners, the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) and Long Life Information and Referral Network (Long Life).
“This lab is a huge benefit to both the residents of Gates and the community. It will enable residents to increase the likelihood of becoming economically self-sufficient, promote economic development in the community by linking residents with businesses, institutions and services, and foster academic skills that students need to succeed later in life,” stated David R. Jones, president of CSS.
The lab serves as a satellite of the State University of New York’s Brooklyn Educational Opportunity Center (BEOC), Dr. Lois Blades-Rosado is the assistant dean and executive director of BEOC. The lab also offers computer training, Internet access, and a range of continuing education opportunities for adults.
Approximately 80 percent of all newly created jobs will require a sound understanding of technology. In late 2001, 75 percent of the nation’s poorest households were still not online. It is reported that only 25 percent of households earning less than $15,000 a year have Internet access. By opening this computer lab, parity is established for residents of this community. A whole new world is a keystroke away.
“The addition of the ATTAIN Lab will provide vitally needed training and support services to the Bedford-Stuyvesant community. I salute the efforts of the Community Service Society in their efforts to improve the quality of life through housing, employment and economic development,” said New York State Assemblywoman Annette Robinson.
The lab will be outfitted with 24 IBM computers that have high-speed Internet access and will incorporate hardware that can be easily upgraded to ensure that this technology center and its contents will not become obsolete within a year or two.