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State Offers More E-Commerce Options, Teams With Nortel to Teach Students About Networking

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RALEIGH — State leaders are pushing hard to move North Carolina government into e-commerce. And that includes working withNortelto help students learn the networking business.

North Carolina'se-commerce steering committeesays it is on schedule to make dealings with state agencies easier over the Internet.

"By the end of this summer, people will be able to register their cars online," says state Secretary of Commerce Rick Carlisle. "We'll have the capability to use credit cards online within the next couple of months."

The move to make online transactions with the state possible began three years ago. Soon, the state will have a new citizen-to-government web site.

"[We] issued a contract to Andersen Consulting and Yahoo, which are going to serve as project staff. And they've got some fantastic ideas about how we can create aNorth Carolina Web sitethat provides what people want when they want it," Carlisle says.

The group met last week at Nortel's RTP offices, where the telecom giant announced it is giving a $150,000 grant to North Carolina high schools. The money will fund the company'sNetKnowledge program, which provides training in networking.

"We are donating the curriculum to the schools. We are setting up five regional training centers immediately, which will be used to train the local high schools with several additional RTCs coming on in the future," says Nortel's Teresa Kniskern.

Schools in economically depressed areas will get priority, and the state is doing its part. Emphasis will be placed on schools in rural areas.

"We're gonna make grants available up to $10,000 per school," announced Governor Jim Hunt at the meeting. "They must be matched by local school systems, to provide the hardware needed to begin networking curriculums."

Grants will begin going out in the next few weeks in time for the beginning of school next fall.

Once trained, students could earn as much as $40,000 a year to start in high tech companies.

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Tom Lawrence, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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