University Of South Carolina, And Benedict College Announce Statewide Education Initiative With Apple Products
*Eight new technology labs across the state will open to public, focus on underserved areas, K-12 students*
Governor Henry McMaster announced the University of South Carolina and Benedict College are working with Apple to provide critical infrastructure support to students and communities throughout South Carolina, who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Governor McMaster approved the use of $6 million out of the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund – part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 – to provide underserved communities additional resources, including technology and educational programming, to help those whose education or economic situation has been disrupted by COVID-19.
The collaboration will build a new network of learning labs that will feature Apple products and curricula. The network will include hubs in Columbia’s BullStreet District and at Benedict College, along with satellite labs at six sites of UofSC’s regional Palmetto College campuses. UofSC Palmetto College campuses are all located within 15 miles or less of a broadband desert, according to the South Carolina Broadband Map, providing reliable technology and internet access to these communities. These labs supplement the statewide efforts undertaken by the Office of Regulatory Staff, which utilized CARES Act funds to expand broadband technology to over 100 South Carolina schools and over 200 communities. This initiative reflects a statewide effort to level the playing field and ensure that all South Carolinians have access to top-tier computing and educational resources.
“The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that internet access is not a luxury but a necessity for millions of South Carolinians,” said Governor Henry McMaster. “The strategic placement of these labs will bolster South Carolina’s premier workforce training efforts by giving our communities and people access to resources they need to expand participation in our state’s growing economy.”
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