Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, sparked a pledge from Gov. William Donald Schaefer yesterday to look into training prison inmates to use computers so they might one day earn an honest living.
Speaking to more than 900 businessmen and women at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Young challenged state officials to do what Muslim community leaders have done in Atlanta, which is help ex-convicts establish their own businesses. The state should teach prisoners how to use computers, he said.
"You need to give these people an education and train them to run a business and in turn they become taxpayers," Young said.
The governor responded to Young's remarks by telling state officials to "do it." During the meeting, Gerald W. Ebker, president of the International Business Machines Corp. Federal Sector Division in Gaithersburg, said IBM would be willing to become partners with the state on such a project.
Young was speaking at a state-sponsored conference aimed at encouraging joint ventures between small and minority-owned firms and larger, more established businesses in Maryland.
Young also urged ministers to start preaching entrepreneurship so that more people would be motivated to go into business.