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Federal Communications Commission
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Internet: http://www.fcc.gov

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

January 7, 1998


LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 7 - FCC Chairman William Kennard today challenged the telecommunications industry to help provide increased technical training and job placement to inner city and underserved communities "so that everyone can participate in the new information economy."

Kennard made his remarks at the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center, which he praised as "a prime example" of private sector initiatives he would like to see emulated around the country. He said, "By teaching telecommunications jobs skills and providing placement assistance within industry, this Center is helping people help themselves and putting them in the position to fully participate in a high tech economy."

Kennard also returned to Hollywood High School, from which he graduated in 1974, and urged students to accelerate their efforts to learn computer skills to be able to obtain better jobs. "Companies need computer literate workers because our economy is increasingly built on processing information instead of manufacturing products," he told a school assembly. Kennard also praised the diversity of the student body of Hollywood High School, which has the most diverse student body in the city. He said, "I have come to appreciate that the lessons I learned from attending this multi-cultural, multi-racial high school were the greatest educational gifts I received. "

Kennard said the purpose of his California trip this week was to visit with telecommunications industry and local community leaders to "open a dialogue" on the importance of community-based efforts, with strong industry support, to provide practical training and employment assistance for minority-owned businesses and underserved communities. On Tuesday, he visited the Ron Brown Information Technology and Business Development Center in Inglewood. On Monday, he discussed computer and Internet training programs at an East Palo Alto community organization, Plugged In.

At the Maxine Waters Center today, Kennard said, "If we can equip people with the tools needed to get ahead in this new age of digital technology, they will be more self-sufficient and able to give back to their communities. Highly skilled workers are what American companies want, but too many workers from underserved communities lack skills and basic resources and therefore do not have the opportunity to compete for these jobs. This only widens the gap between the haves and the have-nots of Los Angeles and throughout our nation. I call on telecommunications industry leaders to work closely with community leaders at places like the Waters Center and Brown Center to help solve this problem," he said.

Kennard said, "Minority and women-owned businesses must participate in the myriad of business opportunities generated by the new economy. We hope to do our part at the FCC through policies and initiatives that provide incentives for the private sector to get more involved and create opportunities for minorities in areas from electronic commerce to fiber optic cable installation to broadcast station ownership."

At Hollywood High School, Kennard said, "It is important that our public schools be the place where all students have a fair chance to learn with and about information age technology. Education technology successfully integrated into the curriculum works. Integrating computers into the educational process accelerates learning and helps grades go up. Computers can help improve the conditions under which students learn, and can motivate people to stay in school."

Kennard endorsed the idea of the Los Angeles Unified School District creating a "Communications Academy" which he said would "relate academic subjects to career development in the communications industry, expose students to the many different opportunities in the communications field, and help prepare students with skills necessary to fill communications industry jobs."

During his remarks to the Maxine Waters Center, Kennard said, " My goals as FCC Chairman are to ensure that all Americans have access to the information superhighway, and that we implement the law in a way that benefits consumers and motivates businesses to provide innovative service."

The Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center is a full-time training center operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). It was established in 1966 as the Watts Skills Center and renamed the Maxine Waters Center in 1989. It is a competency-based skills training facility providing short term skills training (12 to 24 weeks), job counseling and placement. The Center is a full-time training center working toward educating residents of the South Central Los Angeles community.

- FCC -

FCC Office of Public Affairs contacts: Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0256 or David Fiske at (202) 418-0513