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An Adventure of the American Mind: Joining Educators and Students With Library of Congress Resources

Introduction to the ERC

Strengthening Our People and Economy Through Education and Research

Logo: ERCThe Education and Research Consortium (ERC) of the Western Carolinas is a non-profit organization founded by Congressman Charles H. Taylor of the 11th Congressional District of North Carolina. The ERC’s goal is to work cooperatively to bring to WNC and the upstate of South Carolina, as an integrated region, the economic and quality of life benefits that new technology offers. In support of the work of the ERC, Congressman Taylor has pledged to work toward $100 million of funding which would be a part of achieving that goal.

The first goals of the ERC were: (1) to immediately foster activities and programs to enhance the quality of WNC education, kindergarten through university, including public, charter, private and home schools; (2) to work to establish and substantially expand technology infrastructure including high speed Internet access for schools and industries; (3) to work with state and local government officials, chambers of commerce, financial institutions, and private capital sources to promote an understanding of the need for the development of new technology in the region. The success of the consortium and its endeavors has moved beyond expectations since it was first conceived in 1997.

Through the consortium, WNC was chosen as the first in-the-nation pilot program entitled An Adventure of the American Mind. This program trains teachers to use the vast digitized primary resources of the Library of Congress in the classroom and provides them the hardware and software needed to do so. The program has reached over 600 teachers directly and many times that number through a “teacher to teacher” mentoring program. Of course, our students will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this innovative program. Because of it's success this program is expanding throughout the U.S.

The ERC is also actively involved in obtaining and administering other grants such as:

The funding of a regional workforce development center which includes high tech training tools as well as laboratories for lasers and robotics in manufacturing.

The Pisgah Forest Institute, dedicated to science-based instruction, that conducts accredited Earth/Environmental Science workshops for high school science teachers. These ERC-sponsored workshops are held at Brevard College and the Cradle of Forestry and use the Pisgah National Forest as a laboratory.

The Adventure of the American Mind Computer Literacy Initiative, a computer training program for at-risk 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. This program is conducted at at UNC-Asheville.

Congressman Taylor and the Library of Congress are designing and funding a plan to bring affordable high-speed Internet access to the schools, hospitals, libraries, and businesses of WNC. This is a project that will provide the needed infrastructure for the new economy of the Western Carolinas.

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Education and Research Consortium of Western North Carolina

An Adventure of the American Mind is a Library of Congress funded program, administered through the ERC.
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