computer skills training
One of the main goals of the PREP Computer Training program is to provide the technology training needed for inner-city residents to get well-paying jobs. To do this, one of our long-term goals is to provide training needed for professional computer certifications.
We would use the Americorps*VISTA member to help run the walk-in computer lab as well as to help assist with some of our classes. In the walk-in lab, the VISTA members would help answer people’s questions and assist them in their work. They would also work with the youth staff that we have working in the lab.
The VISTA member would also assist in teaching our classes on Saturdays. VISTA members could assist with whatever class that suits their technical capabilities.
The third area VISTA members couls assist in is in providing computer training to youth in our after school program during the afternoon a couple of times a week.
Depending on the VISTA member’s technical capabilities, they may also assist in the technical support of the lab as well as helping work with the youth in our youth-run Web design business. For each of these areas, we would provide the VISTA member with training and mentors to help guide them.
The long range goal of the project is to increase the academic achievement and employment skills of Mission Main residents. Adults reaching an adequate level of proficiency with the computer will be able to complete their G.E.D.s on-site. Outcomes will include:
- More Mission main adults will complete their G.E.D.s
- Children will improve their grades; some will enter competitive high schools
- Adults will be promoted into better paying positions
AmeriCorps VISTA members will provide group and individual computer instruction to Mission Main adults and youth in the Computer Learning Lab. They will also provide instruction to residents who are working to obtain their G.E.D. certificates.
The TechREACH Alliance Project (TAP) is a partnership between the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology (PSCTLT), Wilderness Technology Alliance and the TEConnections program to increase technology access and literacy in underserved communities located in Eastern Washington and Western Washington. TAP will provide technology literacy training and a refurbished computer with Internet access to people from low-income households via established partnerships with schools, DSHS, community colleges, and/or community centers.
The TechREACH VISTA will be involved in a broad range of work from administrative details to program design and implementation.
Specific responsibilities include:
• Coordinate a Train the Trainer workshop for teachers and student leaders
• Offer Technical Assistance Workshops to low-income families focused on building technology skills and awareness of resources to help families improve self-sufficiency and workplace skills
• Support after school clubs for middle and high school students in which students refurbish computers for deployment into low-income communities
• Develop partnerships with businesses, colleges and community-based organizations to support program goals and sustainability
• Assist in the development of a student-led telephone and technical support system
• Monitor and provide technical assistance to sites
• Develop and research resources to support program initiative
• Plan events in which project participants will share project results and impact
As the coordinator for the TechREACH Alliance Project, Will worked extensively on coordination, assisting with training, distributing computers, and capacity building. To begin his year of service he helped to coordinate and lead a Train the Trainer workshop for teachers and student leaders. At this workshop he also provided some new curriculum to the club leaders which provided more details about taking apart computers and troubleshooting.
After this event which kicked off the second year of the project he spent more time on supporting the after-school clubs. Checking in with club leaders to share and learn best practices was an important aspect of his work. As the year progressed he began to assist in distributing the refurbished computers at each of the ten clubs.
All in all, we’ve had nine clubs out of ten distribute computers and Will helped club leaders distribute at least 100 computers out to families. The distributions also required a lot of research and awareness of community resources such as training opportunities and internet services providers. His research in compiling these resources highlighted the need for training opportunities and internet access in Washington State. As well as utilizing partnerships with the Wilderness Technology Alliance and TEConnections to get the computers out to clubs, he created new ones with the Bridges Project of Central Washington University and Genext Communications. He worked with the Bridges Project to provide training in a rural area that does not have any local computer training options. Genext helped to provide internet access to areas not covered by our other ISP partner, Webband. The TechREACH Director and other TechREACH staff supported our VISTA in his work.
Will testified multiple times in front of Washington State legislators about the importance of broadband access and education. In addition, he helped advocate for a critical fix to the E-Waste legislation in Washington that would have prevented thousands of computers from being refurbished for distribution to low-income families.
“Will’s enthusiasm and energy was felt across the organization. The work that he did will inform a future proposal that the Communities Connect Network is submitting to support community technology and increase demand for broadband access in our state. In addition, the curriculum he helped to develop will be disseminated widely.”
- Karen Manuel
HandyCapable Network promotes self-sufficiency and enriches the lives of people with disabilities or people who are otherwise socially or economically challenged by providing training in and access to computer technology.
1. Develop partnerships to receive donations of computers for refurbishing.
2. Develop ways to distribute computers beyond the needs of new CLCs established by HCN. For instance, building on current relationships with social service non-profits to put computers in homes of low-income families; explore computers for after school programs; provide computers for non-profit office use.
3.Develop a marketing and public relations plan and implement that plan toward the goals of community awareness, gaining financial support and computer donations. Plan to include print, radio, tv media, and website and other online options.
4. Develop or revise marketing materials to support both of these efforts including: 1) letters to potential computer donors; 2) Project description/brochure; 3) Edit and distribute two newsletters for the program as a support to marketing and fundraising efforts.
1. Develop a one hour “tour” program, and host visitors monthly.
2. Develop corporate partnerships that include computer and/or financial donations.
3. Further develop the supporter database to track donations, and to ease communications by letter and email with supporters.
4. Develop an acknowledgment plan to thank donors and recognize donations.
5. Coordinate one or two fundraising events.
Project Coordination Assistance
1. Assist in managing the computer distribution for one or more major projects, including the distribution of computers to 7th grade students at Hairston Middle School in 2007-08.
Nate developed at least 5 partnerships with various businesses on his own and many smaller individual donors. These connections continue to provide ongoing computers for HCN.
He also negotiated a 200 computer purchase at a very nominal fee, picked them up, loaded and unloaded them, and found a place to have them stored.
Nate revised brochures, and a variety of new donor letters, flyers were completed.
He submitted a grant application to Leadership Greensboro which resulted in a team of four local business leaders to help him develop a marketing package, a promotional DVD (still in the works), a lead database and 3 large computer donors. One donor at a local hospital brings 25-40 computers a month.
Nate was especially successful with media through press releases, resulting in TV news coverage three times (videos on our website), one school distribution had 3 local channels show up to cover it. Another grant he submitted to a Create-A-Thon, a local marketing firm, has resulted in a large banner for use at events. It came in very handy and was used 4 times during Nate’s service.
He was instrumental in making many updates, changes and fine tuning our website. He developed the Virtual Tour and has agreed to continue to keep the HCN website fresh and up to date. Nate coordinated all computer distributions which included 71 to the families at Hairston Middle School, 77 to Newcomers School (all immigrants from 8 different countries), 60 to another local immigrant community and sometimes with the help of the Executive Director but often on his own he delivered 50 computers to Group homes (for adults with disabilities) throughout the state of NC. These distributions are very time- and staff intensive; having a Vista take the majority of the responsibility helped other staff to do their respective jobs more effectively. Just before he left, Nate submitted a grant for $30,000 for another local school distribution. We recently received the letter stating we were awarded $25,000.
We have a great website, new ongoing partners, so many computers we have to store them off site, new relationships, an inventory database that makes life easier and some big shoes to fill. (We offered Nate a job, but he declined). We are sustaining Nate’s work by hiring the previous Vista, Anna Simanovitch, in a part time Admin. Assistant role. We have also worked out a consulting contract with Nate to continue web updates, write grants, help complete the Annual Report and in many other ways we we may need to use his expertise and knowledge of our organization .
As technical manager of the Taylor Center Media program Shannon will manage the equipment flow, checkout and maintenance process as well as provide technical and production assistance to both faculty and students, conducting one on one and workshop instruction in the use of video, computer and web production and editing.
Shannon McCue has served successfully as the technical manager of the Taylor Center Media program. She continues to manage the equipment flow, checkout and maintenance process. She provides technical and production assistance to both faculty and students, conducting one on one and workshop instruction in the use of video, computer and web production and editing. Along with her VISTA partner, she coordinated a digital media mini conference for students, faculty and staff. Shannon also has worked with her VISTA partner, Danielle Martin, to set up and schedule a number of production workshop and learning events in the course of the year [video blogging, video lighting and sound to mention just a few] in addition to working effective in the on-going maintenance of communication flow, production planning and coordination of the Tactical Media project, a project-based learning initiative of the program. Shannon is extremely trustworthy and thoughtful in carrying out her duties. Shannon has made an enormous contribution to the CMT program’s development.
The VISTA would be involved in a variey of activities including assisting and acting as a trainer in our Introductory computer classes for families, and working with volunteers to prepare the home computers that are critical to our community. The member would also be instrumental in building our second classroom, defining and preparing curriculum for delivery in this “high end”, multimedia learning environment. The member would become familiar with and provide assistance in our other areas including our “Cyber High at home” program.
Jeff has taken the lead role in building our second classroom. This was completed the middle of February. Jeff is very effective in identifying what needs to be done and completing it with quality. He is an integral part of all aspects of our home computer program including scheduling and coordinating families in our classes, coordinating the work of adult and youth volunteers, and many, many other things that are needed in a small organization with a big mission.
Jeff has also attended a KQED workshop on digital story telling and is working with Domingo Vaszuez, a multimedia professional, to finalize the curriculum for our upcoming digital story telling pilot workshop. The workshop has been scheduled, 20 students have been selected, and all is a go for the week of Spring Break, April 10-14.
We are currently working with project SOAR to schedule 200-300 7th graders into our summer technology workshop. This one week workshop, for 6 separate sessions, will run from June 26 to August 4. We will be updating our first classroom to also accomodate the students. The curriculum we will use will be that piloted in April. Jeff is involved in every detail of this large, (and new to us) endeavor.
The goal of our VISTA is to create, run, and document activities in the CyberYs that enhance current YMCA programming and speak to the challenges in each community. The CyberY activities will be observed by other Boston-area YMCAs with the intent to expand successful projects to other branches.
Overall, Jenny has been a positive force for the lab. Everyone (staff) thought the effort was a success. Jenny was the first dedicated person for the computer lab, which was a huge step forward. Specifically, she continued working with the weekend Passport youth, and did more one-on-one training with preschool staff. The passport is a free access program for low-income Chinatown residents on Saturdays. Jenny also helped implement the E-newsletter.
Jenny completed the first newsletter, built relationships with Saturday Passport youth, collected resources, and worked on the first MIT Astronomy project.
Goal 1: Increase Community groups served from 25 to 100
Goal 2: Increase & Improve UMASS Lowell / community anti-poverty community groups
Goal 3: Make it much easier for non techs to update and create web pages.
Goal 4: Create effective system for fund raising through grants
Goal 5: Increase number of effective volunteers from (3) per year to (5) by evaluating potential volunteers more carefully and providing more formal training to new volunteers.
John is a big part of our growth from 25 to 35 organizations.
Three program directors have told me almost exactly: “Without John, I wouldn’t have learned how to update my websie.”
Goal 1: Continue the after-school computer-training program (CLICK) for students at Rogers-Herr Middle School in Durham, North Carolina.
Goal 2: Expand the computer-training program (CLICK) to a community technology center (CTC), such as the West End Community Center or the Lakewood Center in Durham, North Carolina.
Goal 3: Further develop and evaluate the template for scaling and replicating the program in North Carolina and nationwide.The main purpose of the CLICK website is to allow other organizations access to the lessons.
Goal 4: Encourage public and private sector resources to enable the project to continue after the Members leave.
A pretest and post-test was implemented during the first section of CLICK, which underscored the need for CLICK and the quality of the lessons. The pretest/post-test was a shortened version of the skills portion of the North Carolina Computer Competency Exam. The mean score on the pretest of the students who completed CLICK was 22.5%, with a high score of 49% and a low score of 6%. Coming into CLICK the students were lacking the most basic of computer skills. The mean score on the post-test of those same students was 74.3%, with a high score of 89% and a low score of 60%; a drastic improvement. On an individual student basis, no student increased his or her score by less than 32 percentage points. With a mean score increase of 51 percentage points, it is clear that CLICK is both needed and effective.
Some of Chad’s major accomplishments have been that he successfully introduced the program to Lyon’s Park Community Center; revised all of the lesson plans and oversaw the development of new lessons for the younger audience at Lyon’s Park; completely redid the website; instigated the donation of computers from the Franklin Center to Rogers-Herr; put together background and procedural information for future coordinators of CLICK; instigated a relationship with Gary Ybarra in Engineering, which resulted in $5,000 worth of support in the form of assistant coordinators; and successfully set up the program for next year (so the transition is as seamless as possible).
The relationship between CLICK and the Rogers-Herr after-school program has changed in the past and most likely will change in the future. During the first semester of CLICK there were two sections meeting twice a week. One section was for students enrolled in the after school program and one section was for students who were not part of the after school program. Attendance for the after school section was very poor while attendance for the non-after-school section was good. This was caused, at least in part, by changes in after-school administration and staff shortages at Rogers-Herr.
“In tutoring the youth in our CommUNITY Scholars program, I’ve noticed many have computer homework assignments as early as the 4th grade! Students are asked to write essays and to research cities, nature or historical figures. Most are familiar with the computer from playing computer games or surfing the web but do not know how to use software tools or how to properly position their hands to type. CLICK teaches basic skills to allow students to efficiently complete homework assignments and, ultimately, have more confidence functioning in a growing computer-based world.”
Jill Potters (Executive Director of Calvary Ministries of the West-end Community)
Goal 1: Successfully launch a regional web portal for area residents, businesses and organizations.
Goal 2: Create of a computer training and certification program at YES BizCenter
1. Regional Web portal: our Vista, Pat, and I worked with our teen web programmer, David Wiles, to complete the site’s functionality and design. The site went live in mid-September. Pat issued a press release which resulted in at least three stories and recruited two youth to staff a table at our region’s largest fall festival, which was attended by over 10,000 people. Since then, Meanwhile, Pat and several youth work continue to research, gather and enter content. We have a bevy of volunteers, including a disabled YES alumni, Alan, who works at our wheelchair desk two afternoons every week, gathering web addresses for the 975 business and organization listings in the site’s directory. In November, Pat forged a partnership with two town-specific websites (OrangeTownGreen.com and PetershamCommon.com) to collaborate on soliciting site sponsors from among the region’s business community. Our site now has 22 sponsors, who pay $225/year, which is split between YES and our partners. The funds are helping recoup some of our development costs and in future will create a revenue stream to sustain the site. The site has over 75 registered users and is growing.
2. IC3 & MOS: Pat contacted CertiPort and registered with them to become a training and certification site. She helped our TechVenture! teaching team incorporate IC3 into this 16-hour youth computer training program, which was offered last June. Pat raised over $500 in cash and in- kind contributions from local businesses towards the cost of the program. We also investigated funding through the Verizon foundation and through the state employment and training consortium. Pat also solicited in-kind contributions of computer hardware (two computers, miscellaneous parts, a network switch) and eight task chairs for our classroom. She also helped streamline the operation of our weekday Teen Cyber Cafe by having youth and adults create user accounts (sign an agreement of terms and conditions, etc.), with account settings that protect the computers from viruses, etc. There are now 125 registered users.