CEO Joseph Taylor said the only challenge was identifying Panasonic’s role and how it could partner with the city for a better future.
“I really wanted to do something related to education, here in the city, specifically with the kids, and if it could focus just a little bit on technology that would be an advantage,” Taylor said.
Khemlani reported that Taylor was joined by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton, Rev. Steffie Bartley and Lord Dowdell of the National Action Network for the launch of the National Action Network Newark Tech World site.
The facility will serve as a free community source for students and will teach courses in web design, graphic design, digital literacy and networking, among other digitally-focused programs, according to a statement.
The idea was conceived when Baraka and NAN approached Panasonic about the idea of a tech center, Taylor said. It took six months from concept to conclusion.
“It just connected all the dots for us,” Taylor said of the company’s goal to be involved in Newark.
“The mayor provided the building, Rev. Sharpton’s team gave the energy, and we provided some financial support and some technical ideas,” he said.
Sharpton praised Taylor’s enthusiasm for the project.
“The thing that makes this so nice … Joe Taylor gets it. You know, you meet with some folk that are CEOs and you go through the motion,” Sharpton said.
“He understands this vision,” Sharpton said. “Because America cannot survive where some have access to information and others are locked out of information and locked down. You cannot break that cycle unless you put them on the information highway.”
Candidly, Taylor said, the inspiration came from Prudential and its longstanding commitment to Newark.
“Every company has their own idea of what they want to do,” Taylor said. “To be honest with you. The epitome of social responsibility to me is Prudential. They’ve been a corporate citizen here for 140 years. What they did was magnificent.”
The community hopes the Tech World facility will start a transition away from the cycle of poverty.
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To follow Anjalee Khemlanie on Twitter @AnjKhem.