KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's a window to the information super highway.
However, for residents in the metro's low income neighborhoods, access to the internet hasn't been affordable. One non-profit group says it's changing lives by making online access available.
A workshop buzzing with tech talk yields some solid opportunities for the less-fortunate.
A non-profit group called Connecting For Good wants to make high-speed internet access available for at-risk neighborhoods. Michael Liimatta helped start the firm using $60,000 in federal grant money within the past year. Liimatta said he hopes to open the information superhighway to more passengers.
"That's one thing that drives us -- how do we get more school children access to the internet -- especially those who come from low-income families?" Liimatta said, adding that 70% of children in the Kansas City, Mo. school district live in homes without online access.
Connecting For Good isn't using cable or fiber lines. The group is using a unique series of microwave transmitters to send out a 5 gHz signal to the 31st and Troost neighborhood.
Liimatta's group is even making refurbished computers available to those who qualify for just $50. Nancy Andreasen said she qualifies for the service due to a physical disability.
"We forget how difficult that is," Andreasen said. "We forget there are people out there who don't have those things, and can't afford those things. They don't have that knowledge or the education."
The non-profit group deals in computers and all things associated with them, but Liimatta insists what they're actually doing is bridging gaps. He cites statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor saying that 70% of hires in the modern workplace begin with an online application for employment.
"It's not something that's easy to afford," Liimatta said. "We're trying to make that possible for folks."
And by plugging in, this group wants to open doors.
In addition to serving the 31st & Troost neighborhood, Connecting For Good also works with families in Eastern Wyandotte County. The group also has a mobile computer lab that it's planning to take to community centers in the near future.