Brief History of CATNeT

When and how CATNeT was established:

The idea behind CATNeT began in multiple places at multiple times but the organization of the coalition began with a meeting at Hope Manor, a low income housing complex, managed by Vistula Management. John Kiely of Vistula Management organized the meeting because he had met and heard about so many organizations and individuals in Toledo concerned about technical inequality.

In 1996 Vistula Management successfully applied for $200,000 of HUD (Housing and Urban Development) funding from the Neighborhood Networks program in order to establish computer labs in six Vistula low-income housing sites. As John Kiely from Vistula Management was telling others about Vistula’s computer project, he found a multitude of organizations and institutions interested in the same issue, that is, equal access to technology. In the fall of 1996, he invited these people to a meeting to discuss our common concerns. Over 30 community-based organizations, institutions, and residents of Vistula’s low-income housing sites offered a description of their program or their perception of the equal access issue. The result was a decision to meet again to discuss how to collaborate and tackle the issue.

Dr. Randy Stoecker, a sociology professor and Urban Affairs Center research associate at the University of Toledo, and his graduate assistant, Angela Stuber were invited to the meeting based on their involvement with the Toledo portion of the UUNN – Urban University and Neighborhood Network. The UUNN’s first research project had focused on the computer and technical access that community groups do not have. With the financial and technical support of the Urban Affairs Center, Stoecker and Stuber began organizing the meetings of the group that would eventually be called CATNeT – Coalition to Access Technology and Networking in Toledo.

 

CATNeT’s mission:

CATNeT’s mission is to promote universal access to technology. To do this, CATNeT facilitates access to computers and the Internet, and to the training and technical assistance needed to use that technology, so that end users can become information users and providers. As part of our mission, end users are involved in all CATNeT decision-making.

 

Accomplishments to date:

CATNeT’s biggest accomplishment has been bringing together its various partners to share resources and needs. CATNeT holds monthly meetings of 15 to 40 people present at each meeting. The location of the meetings varies to allow the partners to experience each other’s facilities and computer labs and to allow a variety of the users to more easily stay involved with CATNeT. In Randy Stoecker’s evaluation of CATNeT he states, "Among the strengths most noted in the CATNeT SWOT analysis, CATNeT’s ability to identify and make the most of challenging opportunities, its development of a stable organization base and committed membership, and its ability to bring together diverse people to achieve concrete goals stand out" (evaluation available upon request).

CATNeT has assisted the operational and the developing public computer labs in the following ways:

Operational public computer labs in Toledo:

Developing public computer labs in Toledo:

CATNeT Training:

In addition to coordinating the efforts of the labs and coordinating the various trainings, CATNeT has also:

 

Current Programs and Services:

Training

Communication

Public Computer Labs