CTCs in Yakima Valley:
Impact of Community Technology Centers on the Lives of Hispanic Farm Workers (2003-04)

In 2003 the U.S. Department of Education awarded a grant to The University of Washington's Office of Educational Partnerships and Learning Technologies and its partners in Eastern Washington to create two community technology centers (CTCs) in the towns of Sunnyside and Granger. The video-conference equipped CTCs are aimed at helping farm workers and other low-income individuals strengthen their English literacy, their fluency in the use of information technology, and access to varied education resources. As Ricardo Garcia, Executive Director of Northwest Communities Education Center, explained, “Farm working families will now have a means to access information that will facilitate receiving services from state agencies, and they will have at their fingertips an educational service that will help them learn and appreciate the convenience of the computer systems. Many will be able to keep up with the computer skills that their children are learning at school.”

Working with Dr. Betty Marcoux, we used our context-based, outcome evaluation toolkit to assess how people were benefiting from the CTCs, especially in terms of building their English proficiency and job skills. Yakima County, Washington—a world agricultural capital—is a low-income, minority-populated region severely affected by the digital divide. The CTCs are expected to serve over two thousand people, and provide in-depth training to over three hundred.