One of the Jackson County recipients of a $50,000 grant from Google is sharing updates on their project.
The IMPACT Learning Center is working on a mobile learning classroom for students and senior citizens. It’s a van that will have computers, Wifi, a 3-D printer and more.
The van’s set-up could change daily, depending on the need.
Google representatives say it’s important to maintain their relationship in Jackson County.
“As we get involved, we hear about local needs. So whether it’s the mobile STEM lab, or the IMPACT Learning Center, or some of the needs of our local libraries, these are organizations just down the road, literally, from one of our major data centers and that’s why it’s so important for us to give back,” said Dan Harbeke, Google, Head of Public Policy & External Affairs.
“Lena Cagle Public Library” in Bridgeport and “Stevenson Public Library” each received $25,000 for their STEM programs also.
Three organizations in Jackson County have been awarded grants through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund.
Scottsboro’s IMPACT Learning Center has received $50,000 to enhance its mobile computer lab, while Lena Cagle Public Library in Bridgeport and Stevenson Public Library each received $25,000 for general STEM and computer science programming support.
“With our facility nearing normal operations, so too is it important that we help with the operations of local organizations, especially those focused on STEM and creating economic opportunities,” said Dan Harbeke, Google Head of Public Policy and External Affairs.
“We are so excited to receive this grant money from Google and will be using funding to further our STEM activities and bring more children into the library to learn skills that will help them now — and in their future jobs,” said Monica Davis, director of Stevenson Public Library. “Additionally, we plan to use a portion to educate and train our seniors on basic computer usage, which will assist them in the job application process.”
“We are overwhelmed and grateful for Google’s generosity,” said Mitzi Guess, co-director of Lena Cagle Library. “This grant will provide the means for new STEM programs to support our children and youth, as well as help us meet the growing technical needs of our area.”
“We look forward to using the Google grant to provide educational opportunities to all Jackson citizens through our Mobile Learning Classroom,” said Dr. Brad Bradford, CEO and chairman of IMPACT Learning Center.
Cathy Mitchell, IMPACT’s executive director, added, “The Google grant will allow us to bring instruction in the latest technologies to individual users and teachers. We now will be able to do things, for example, like pull into a small, rural senior center and teach seniors how to get the most usage out of their cell phones.”
Since 2017, Google has granted over half a million dollars through sponsorships and grants to the school district and area nonprofit organizations within Jackson County — $450,000 specifically in support of local nonprofits and the school district.
Google has had a presence in North Alabama since announcing in 2015 that it would build a $600 million data center in Jackson County — the first of its kind in Alabama. Under construction since 2018, the data center intends to be fully operational by the end of 2020.