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NEWS RELEASES 2001-02 :: AUGUST 2, 2001


The State has a new program and Web site that links state and local government employees and retirees with major suppliers of computers and other computer equipment. Powerful Computer Connections at will make it easier and more affordable for government employees and retirees to purchase computers for home use.

State Auditor Ralph Campbell, chairman of the State's Information Resource Management Commission (IRMC), made the announcement today at a news conference. State Superintendent Mike Ward, chairman of the Government Employee Powerful Computer Connections Program; Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, chair of the eGovernment Committee; and Betsy Y. Justus, representative of the North Carolina Electronics and Information Technologies Association, joined him.

Campbell said the IRMC wanted a way to help state and local government employees purchase computers and peripherals for home use with affordable financing. Through this effort, the IRMC is connecting employees (including teachers and higher education staff members) to computer vendors that will offer attractive government employee pricing through the Web site. The State and Local Employees Credit Unions are partnering with the IRMC to provide attractive financing of low interest loans for this program.

Vendors are voluntarily participating and the purchases will be made directly through them. Vendor organizations must be approved under the State of North Carolina Microcomputer Contracts and are among the world's leading manufacturers and providers of current technology in the workplace today.

"This program offers a unique way to help employees and retirees purchase new computers or upgrade technology for their homes. We're very pleased with the response from some of the leading computer suppliers and from the State and Local Employees Credit Unions. Being able to provide low interest loans is surely a benefit of this program," Campbell said.

State Superintendent Mike Ward sees the benefits as an employer and as an educator. "More and more teachers and other educators are relying on computers to make their work more efficient and more students are being exposed to computers at home. The education benefits of Powerful Computer Connections are numerous, for employees, retirees and for children. This is a win-win program all around."

The computer vendors that are a part of the program also will benefit. Joan Myers, president of the North Carolina Electronic and Information Technologies

Association was represented at the news conference by Betsy Justus, but in a statement, she said the vendors are excited to engage in such a forward-thinking public-private partnership. "Powerful Computer Connections is an example of the fact that when business and government work together on key issues, good things happen. This partnership will allow our state employees and teachers, who are vital to North Carolina's economy, to have access to the tools of the 21" century."

The new Powerful Computer Connections program is one of a number of ways the State is encouraging technology use. According to Secretary of State Marshall, chair of the IRMC's e-Government Committee, the effectiveness and efficiency of state and local governments are improving as a result of increased technology.

She commented, "From purchasing goods, publishing reports, updating licenses and any number of other uses, technology is changing the way citizens do business with government. The challenge is to keep pushing the envelope, to continue making better use of technology as the powerful tool that it provides."

State and local government employees and retirees are encouraged to check the new Web site at to read more about the program. Access to the site also is directly available through the state portal at Most vendors will accept orders online, by phone or at local sales outlets. And, the State and Local Employees Credit Unions are offering loans at a rate of 7 percent with a three-year term, up to $3,500, for the purchases. Employees must be a credit union member to be eligible for the financing.

IRMC Chairman Campbell said there are thousands of state employees who do not have access to the Internet either at work or at home. "By having the option to purchase a computer at a lower price and with easy financing through their credit union, we expect to see a rise in computer proficiency on the job by state and local employees," Campbell said.

For additional information, check the Web site at or call Woody Yates, executive director of the Information Resource Management Commission at 919.733.6619.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.