News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 7, 2012

Lost Creek trustee exploring possibility of providing computer lab for residents

TERRE HAUTE — A mobile computer lab has come to the Lost Creek Township Trustee’s Office to assist the public in job searches and applying for assistance programs.

“We’re excited about this,” said Jennifer Bouchie, outreach librarian with the Vigo County Public Library, about the partnership with Trustee Rick Long. “We’re testing this out to see how it goes.”

Bouchie brought six Internet-ready laptops into a meeting room at the trustee’s office, on U.S. 40 in Seelyville. She plans to be available to assist the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the next five weeks as a test of how the public will respond to the program.

“There’s just so many things people have to do on the  Internet, and some don’t have Internet accessibility,” said Long of the reason for setting up the program. People who are economically challenged may not be able to get into Terre Haute to get to the free Internet access at the county library.

The library computers can access job search websites and resume builders, as well as sites offering interview tips, along with state-operated unemployment, food stamps and other public assistance sites.

The room hosting the weekly computer lab also can be used in the summer for adult reading classes and money management classes, Long said. It is his goal to educate the public to make better life choices, and the computer lab is a good starting point.

“If this is a success, we will reconsider and move on from there,” Long said of the six-week program. “We’re just getting a feel for it and seeing what to expect.”

His office building is handicap accessible, and on Monday, he had a local resident who uses a wheelchair come in to try out the lab to make sure it could accommodate a person with special needs. She proclaimed the project a success.

No other location in Seeleyville offers free public access to the Internet, Long said. Some people purchase Internet access through the local phone provider, while others use air cards.

Township leaders have a goal to develop the Lost Creek Township Community Center, which is already laid out in development designs hanging on the wall. The center could be the permanent site for the computer lab, Long said. But funding challenges for the computer center have left that possibility in the future.

Long said he believes that offering the lab to local residents is just part of the job for a trustee, and it can help people improve themselves.

“This is to make your life better,” Long said of the lab.

For more information about the program, call the Lost Creek Township Trustee’s Office at (812) 877-3415.

Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.

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