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SmartForce e-Learning Foundation Expands Digital Divide Initiative Across United States; Under-Served Communities Nationwide to Benefit From e-Learning Programs.

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 16, 2000

Working to close the digital divide, SmartForce (Nasdaq:SMTF), the world's largest e-Learning company, today took another step toward bringing under-served communities from New York to Los Angeles into the new economy. The SmartForce e-Learning Foundation (SELF) will donate over the next year 150,000 scholarships valued at $5 million for e-Learning to Technology for All, Operation HOPE of Los Angeles and the Harlem Renaissance Project 2001. These recent donations demonstrate the ways in which e-Learning can serve different populations to reach the same ultimate goal--empowerment.

As part of SmartForce's commitment to bridge the Digital Divide, SELF has entered into a national partnership with Technology For All (TFA), which was announced at the meeting of the America Connects Consortium in Boston on November 15, 2000. TFA, an organization created to help eliminate the digital divide, is collaborating with the America Connects Consortium to support community technology centers nationwide. As a partner of the America Connects Consortium, TFA will share the SmartForce e-Learning donation with community technology centers that are part of the America Connects Consortium and HUD's Neighborhood Network program, member organizations of the Community Technology Centers Network and local TFA affiliates in Houston, Portland, OR, Denver and Boulder, CO, Washington, DC and Austin, Texas.

In addition, SmartForce will provide 4,500 scholarships for access to Internet-based e-Learning for a total of six technology centers of The Harlem Renaissance 2001 Project which is led by the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC) and the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University (ILT). The Harlem Renaissance 2001 Project will launch the program on November 17, 2000, at 9:30 am Eastern, at the Verizon Technology Education Center, 148 West 125th Street.

SmartForce has also donated 4,500 scholarships to Operation HOPE's Inner City Cyber Cafe in South Central Los Angeles for their The Inner City Partnership for "New Economy" Jobs program. The grant will be announced on November 17, at 9:00 a.m. Pacific at an event that will be attended by Alvin Brown, vice chairman of the White House Community Empowerment Board and senior policy advisor to the Vice President on Urban Issues. When recipients of the scholarships complete the program, Operation HOPE will work to place program graduates in entry level, "new economy" internships and jobs with Operation HOPE' partner companies.

Scholarship recipients will access e-Learning covering areas such as: Computer Essentials, Business Fundamentals, A+ Certification, I-Net+ Certification. Moreover, recipients will be supported by SmartForce Mentoring Services--a program that gives learners online access to certified experts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"e-Learning is a powerful tool for preparing people for full participation in the new economy," said Greg Priest, president and CEO of SmartForce. "We've seen the impact that e-Learning has had on training individuals in the world's largest global enterprises, and we know this training can help prepare people in under-served communities with the skills they need for jobs in the New Economy. As the world's largest e-Learning company, we have a unique capacity, and we believe, responsibility, to help build a bridge over the digital divide. We're proud to continue this work by donating e-Learning scholarships to these important community organizations."

About SmartForce

SmartForce, the largest e-Learning company, provides integrated enterprise e-Learning solutions. SmartForce e-Learning is available as a fully hosted Internet environment through an Internet rental model. With more than 2,500 major corporate customers, SmartForce e-Learning solutions bring the power of the Internet to the critical training business process. The SmartForce e-Learning environment is also used by leading Internet, software and other companies to provide the infrastructure to support their e-Learning initiatives. SmartForce is quoted on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol "SMTF." The company, which has more than 1,300 employees worldwide, has corporate headquarters at 900 Chesapeake Drive, Redwood City, Calif., 94063. Phone: 650.817.5900. Fax: 650.817.5061. Web site:

About Technology For All

Technology For All (TFA) is a nationally focused non-profit organization using a network model to bridge the digital divide. TFA is creating educational, economic and personal opportunities for underserved children, youth and their families through access to technology and community relationships. With the support of our national sponsor Enron Broadband Services (EBS) and access to its Enron Intelligent Network, TFA is creating a secure online resource of shared software applications and educational content that will be delivered to our authorized program partners in 75 US metropolitan areas over the next five years. TFA is currently connecting local program partners in Houston, Colorado, Portland, OR and Washington, DC. Our business plan projects connecting an average of 100 local computer learning centers in each metropolitan area. By 2005, TFA anticipates an estimated 7500 sites utilizing TFA shared resources. TFA is also developing a plan to extend the initiative overseas.

About ADC's Harlem Renaissance 2001 (HR2K1) project:

The Abyssinian Development Corporation's Harlem Renaissance 2001 (HR2K1) project will use a three-pronged approach to give the citizens of Harlem access to the educational, cultural, civic and socioeconomic opportunities that new information technologies make possible. First, the project will develop six state-of-the-art public access technology centers. Five will be at existing community-based organizations. The sixth center will be a large community technology center that will serve the entire Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Secondly, the project will develop a distance learning network accessible through the centers. Classes, seminars, and training sessions lead by remote instructors will be accessible simultaneously over the network. Finally, the project will create a computer loan program at the Manhattan public access technology center. The loan program will place 50 computers in the homes of people who frequent the center and who live in local housing.

About Operation HOPE

The Operation HOPE Inner City Cyber Cafe, the first private/public partnership of its kind in the nation, opened with great fanfare on April 15th, 2000, the vision of John Bryant, founder of Operation HOPE, Inc., was created to provide low-income, traditionally under-served populations with a comfortable, relaxed location to meet, learn, educate, engage in e-commerce, conduct research, hold one-on-one business meetings, and in so doing, "bridge the digital divide" with a digital empowerment solution. Cyber Cafe partners include U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Note to Editors: SmartForce, SmartForce e-Learning and the SmartForce logo are trademarks of SmartForce.

All other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 16, 2000
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