Robinson Center receives $282,000 for business initiative



A $282,000 appropriations request for the University of Notre Dames Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) by Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., has been funded in a bill that recently became law.

Donnelly will present a ceremonial check at a celebration to mark the seventh anniversary of the RCLC at 5:30 p.m. Friday (Feb. 22) at the center. Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dames president, also will be in attendance at the event, which will feature an awards ceremony and musical entertainment.

The RCLC will receive the funding to support and develop Robinson Enterprises, a comprehensive training, entrepreneurship and business promotion initiative. The program will specifically promote business success for at-risk youths and young adults (ages 16 to 24) through training, mentoring and start-up incubation for the launch of for-profit enterprises.

We are grateful to Congressman Donnelly and Sen. Bayh for their leadership in funding this innovative venture,said Jay Caponigro, director of the RCLC.Robinson Enterprises will enable the University and community to work together to cultivate entrepreneurship and self-sufficiency.

Donnelly said:I was happy to learn that the Robinson Community Learning Center will receive the funding it deserves to continue and expand its operations. The outstanding work done at the center contributes to area revitalization and provides employment opportunities for South Bend-area residents.

Founded by Notre Dame in 2001, the RCLC is a community-driven education center. In addition to Robinson Enterprises, the center sponsors a number of programs and activities and hosts others led by local agencies and organizations. These include violence prevention initiatives, health education and screenings, GED and English-as-a-second-language classes, childrens programming, youth tutoring, and after-school programs. It also features a Computer Teaching and Learning Center, which is equipped with 20 computers and provides instruction and Internet and e-mail access.

Some 500 residents and volunteers participate each week in on-site RCLC programming, and as many as 250 Notre Dame students, faculty and staff volunteer with center programs. Some 35 University departments and residence halls are involved in RCLC partnerships.

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