LOS ANGELES – Mayor Eric Garcetti today launched “OurCycle LA,” a City of Los Angeles program to refurbish City computers slated for replacement and give them to Angelenos in need. Computers not suitable for refurbishment will be recycled by a local e-waste social enterprise company committed to providing job training to previously incarcerated Angelenos who face barriers to employment.
"By getting creative and innovative, we're stretching our taxpayer dollars by providing a second life for city computers," Mayor Garcetti said. "Each computer represents an opportunity – an opportunity to connect, an opportunity to protect the planet, an opportunity to work. With OurCycle LA, we’re not only helping bridge the digital divide, we’re simultaneously supporting our economy by providing job training, creating employment opportunities, and boosting L.A.’s growing e-waste management sector.”
Mayor Garcetti worked with Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, the City’s Information TechnologyAgency, General Services Department, and Bureau of Sanitation to collect approximately 10,000 old computers from all city departments and jump start the OurCycle LA program. The computers were donated to the LA Cleantech Incubator which contracted with human-I-T, a local non-profit dedicated to transforming old technology into educational tools for those in need, to assess each computer’s viability. The approximately 3,000 computers determined to be refurbishable will be fully retooled by human-I-T and loaded with software including Microsoft Windows 7, MS Office, and a web browser. The computers that are not viable will be transferred to Isidore Electronics Recyling, an e-waste recycling social enterprise company that provides on-the-jobtraining and employment for previously incarcerated Angelenos.
“OurCycle LA meets our shared goal of building 21st century skills and bridging the digital divide for disadvantaged youth, seniors and adults in the community," said City Council President Herb Wesson. "It’s a great privilege to be able to give refurbished city computers to families that have never had one which will open doors for opportunities.”
A number of partner organizations are engaged in the distribution component of OurCycle LA. The refurbished computers will either be donated to non-profit centers that provide computer labs to low-income communities or given directly to families who have never had high-speed internet at home. Non-profit recipients are determined by a lottery through LA Shares, and individual participants are recruited by Community Build and the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance.
Individual recipients will be required to participate in digital literacy training and to sign up for high-speed internet service. Although recipients can choose any internet provider, OurCycle LA has partnered with the non-profit organizations Everyone On and the Southeast Community Development Corporation to provide internet service for as low as $10/month, plus a one-time equipment fee of $65. The digital literacy training will be provided by Best Buy’s Geek Squad, the Youth Policy Institute, and Citi.
"With OurCycleLA, the City is repurposing those computers for the purposes of bridging the digital divide, enhancing workforce development, and promoting educational opportunity. I believe this innovative approach to e-waste management will be a model for other cities," said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who chairs the City's Innovation Technology and General Services Committee. "With access to information becoming more and more a right rather than a privilege, OurCycleLA reflects Los Angeles's commitment to creating a fully connected, 21st century city."
The California Emerging Technology Fund has donated $150,000 to OurCycle LA to refurbish 2,500 computers and to provide digital literacy training to 2,500 individual recipients and to help 1,500 households get internet service. REDF has donated $50,000 to provide hands-on job training for ten Angelenos who have barriers to employment, and Citi provided $50,000 in support of financial literacy training for 2,500 recipients.
For more information about OurCycle LA, visit ourcyclela.com
About the California Emerging Technology Fund
The mission of the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) is to provide leadership to close the Digital Divide by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband and providing computing devices and digital literacy training to underserved communities and populations. To achieve the optimal impact and a higher return on investment of the original $60 million seed capital, CETF uses 5 overarching strategies: (1) Civic Leader Engagement; (2) Venture Philanthropy Grantmaking; (3) Public Policy Initiatives; (4) Public Awareness and Education; and (5) Strategic Partnerships.
California has made tremendous progress in connecting Californians to the Internet, gaining prominence as a national leader for innovations in advancing Digital Inclusion. In 2008, California’s statewide adoption rate for broadband use at home was 55%. In 2014, it stood at 75%. CETF has been a vital catalyst for this critical work, partnering with more than 100 business, government, academic and non-profit organizations. The overall goal is to reach 98% of all residences with broadband infrastructure and to achieve 80% home adoption by 2017. This only can be accomplished if hard-to-reach target communities- low-income populations, Latino households, rural communities, and people with disabilities- achieve at least a 70% adoption rate. For more information, visit www.cetfund.org.
REDF is a California-based organization that creates jobs for people facing barriers to work by providing funding and business expertise to launch and grow social enterprises. As a result, REDF has helped thousands of people get jobs, and the 60 social enterprises they’ve invested in have earned more than $140 million in revenue, making this a cost-effective way to address chronic joblessness. For more information, visit www.redf.org
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries andjurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management. For more information, visit www.citigroup.com