Job Safety Commission Provides Computers to D.C. School


Contact: Linda Whitsett

Release 98-2

(202) 606-5398

April 22, 1998





Computers, no longer useful to the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) but of value to a city school, went to Johnson Junior High School in Northeast Washington, D.C. in a recent donation spurred by a Presidential Order designed to encourage such contributions.

OSHRC staff upgraded the processors and increased the memories of a number of the machines with parts from other surplus agency equipment and will help install the machines at the school and connect them to the Internet.  In all, 12 computers were transferred to the school from OSHRC. OSHRC Chairman Stuart E. Weisberg said "This is a wonderful opportunity for a small Federal agency to team up with an inner-city school and turn surplus computer equipment into educational opportunities for young people.  It is a win-win situation." The computers became available when the agency, which issues decisions in formal disputes over charges that work place safety or health rules have been violated, upgraded some of its desk top computers.

Executive Director William J. Gainer concluded that the normal process of disposing of computers was too cumbersome and recalled that unsold equipment could be donated to schools. He suggested finding a school in the city that needed computers.  About that time, Roma Gray, the agency's Procurement Officer, read a newspaper story by Washington Post columnist Bob Levey highlighting the effort of Johnson Junior High School to get computers through grocery store receipt programs.  Another OSHRC staffer located a copy of the Executive Order that created the Computers for Learning program, which has as its goal ensuring that American children have the skills they need to succeed in the information-intensive 21st century. Soon there was a consensus regarding contribution to District school children and Chairman Weisberg enthusiastically approved the transfer of property.  "We are all proud that this relatively small donation may have big benefits for children who must have technological skills to succeed in today's labor market," Mr. Gainer said.