A plan to provide residents in Spartanburg’s Highland community with life skills, job training and other resources became a reality Wednesday.
The new “Innovation Village” technology hub has launched at the Bethlehem Center on Highland Avenue, giving residents access to more than two dozen computer workstations for workforce readiness and academic enrichment.
“In the Highland community, we’re looking for opportunities to help people with upward mobility, self-sufficiency and to earn a livable wage,” said Patrena Mims, executive director of the Bethlehem Center. “In order to do that, you need skills to move that needle to the next phase.”
Area organizations behind the Seeing Spartanburg in a New Light “Video Village” art installation, including White Elephant Enterprises and hub-ology, were able to create the new technology hub with help from a Spartanburg County Foundation grant.
White Elephant Enterprises repurposed the small Raspberry Pi computers and equipment when the Video Village ended at Cammie Clagett Courts.
The city of Spartanburg will be using state funds to demolish some of the vacant apartments this year.
Of the 52 computers, 25 are in the Innovation Village, three are in the Bethlehem Center’s media arts laboratory and five were given to the Thornton Activity Center, also located in Highland. The remaining computers will be assembled into a fast supercomputer at the Bethlehem Center.
“We’re going to offer workshops on coding, technology, web design and how to use computers,” said Robyn Hussa Farrell, co-founder of White Elephant Enterprises. “It’s just a testament to the power of the community and the strength of this community in Spartanburg.”
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