Council for World Class Communities

Benton Harbor, MI

To create an environment where Southwest Michigan residents view differences among themselves as strengths that open opportunities for everyone to grow and participate fully, rather than seeing differences as threats or problems.

The Council for World-Class Communities is nonprofit volunteer organization that was formed in January 2001. It seeks to break down barriers to diversity-with-inclusion, as well as barriers to economic prosperity for Southwest Michigan residents. The Council uses diversity-with-inclusion education and awareness as the foundation for all of its projects and programs. The CWCCâ s major programs include the Bridges to Digital Excellence (BDE) project, Community-Wide Diversity Training, and Calling All Colors. The BDE project provides refurbished computers and software to technology-disadvantaged families in Southwest Michigan. Community-Wide Diversity Training is open to any member of our communities and trains residents to deliver a comprehensive eight-module diversity-with-inclusion curriculum within their organization. The Calling All Colors project is designed to provide an opportunity for students to learn about racial intolerance and develop action plans for increasing appreciation for racial diversity in their school communities. The CWCC programs and projects are designed to serve all of the residents of Southwest Michigan; however, the CWCCâ s primary constituency is the greater Twin Cities area, which includes Benton Harbor, Benton Township, Lincoln Township, Royalton Township, St. Joseph, St. Joseph Township and Stevensville. Additionally, many CWCC programs affect residents from across Berrien County and in parts of neighboring Van Buren County.

Supported Projects

'Computers in the Home' Program Building

Becky Shuler

Goal 1: Take over general operations of the Computers in the Home Phase of the BDE program.
Goal 2: Design a process to identify remaining students who qualify for the BDE Computers in the Home phase.
Goal 3: Development of volunteer training program. Recruit and coordinate volunteers for the BDE program.
Goal 4: Develop follow up procedures with the BDE families.
Goal 5: Develop procedures to identify potential candidates to become involved in Phases III, IV & V of the BDE program, CWCC literacy initiative and the Home Ownership Institute (HOI).
Goal 6: Implement an after-school computer assistance program.

Our project to date has had good results, we finished last years with the Bridges to Digital Excellence (BDE) program donating 742 total computers and training to students in grades three through eight. As of today we are at 793 Families that have completed our program. Becky has done a good job of running operations for the Computers in the Home part of BDE.

As of the beginning of this year’s program which started the last week of February Becky has managed all aspects of the program except purchasing of computers. As I did when we first started the BDE program there were some bumps in the road but things came together. The same has happed with Becky leading the Computers In the Home program now. I have full confidence in her abilities to continue the excellence and maintain standards that we strive for. Our one outlying goal is to have the program we put on compete with the best programs in the world. To my knowledge there is not another program in the country that is striving to bridge the digital divide as quickly and efficiently as this program is. We are estimating that by the end of next year every child across Berrien County in grades three through eight will have a computer in their home. We know that with the 793 families that have completed the program we have had 1586 people in the program and that more than 3000 individuals have been indirectly affected by the BDE program providing technology to so many homes. We want to see Becky continue to take advantage of the wealth of passion for the work we do. At our monthly steering committee meetings she gets to sit with the upper level IT management from almost every major employer in our community. She has been exposed to a brainstorming technique that was developed by Whirlpool Corp. called an “Ideation Session” and how it can be used to expel ideas from a group that are there but people just don’t realize. Becky also worked on a project for a development company; she wrote a proposal for a local art house to integrate technology into storytelling.

In her second year, Becky has effectively taken on all operations of the computers in the home program and is doing a good job running the program. We are looking forward to reaching our 1000th family by the end of 2005.

CTC Support

Rebecca Shuler

Our Computers in the Home Project has sustained itself and continues to continue as planned due to the service of our VISTA. Becky has helped coordinate our program’s operations with volunteers and participants. She has helped developed some manuals and curriculum that are helping our staff and volunteers to better operate the program in to the future. Becky has had good success in ensuring that the classes are successfully run and has helped coordinate over 60 classes over the course of the year. Her work has gotten us closer to reaching our goal of providing 300 computers to families. Her service has greatly helped us grow our capacity as we successfully opened a second computer lab in May and allowed us to serve more than 600 participants in the program.

CTC Support

Greg Osmun

* Assist with management of the BDE computer lab, including software updates, security, and troubleshooting.
* Develop a more streamlined and better organized process for loading the computers that will be going out to families.
* Develop a better system for inventory management using existing technologies such as bar codes or RF.
* Develop a training program for the high school tech interns and assist in their training.
* Develop a better technical support intake process and help implement it.
* Completion of commitment with CWCC and Report.

Greg has done an exceptional job in the organizational structure of our lab, organization with the volunteers and high school interns and we are for the first time ahead on production of our machines. All of our PC’s in our lab are running completely trouble free and updates and viruses have not been an issue.

Greg has done an excellent job in developing a manual for the loading process of the computers for the students.

We have hired two high school interns to work with Greg in the loading and PC maintenance part of the lab. Greg is working with them to develop and learn new skills and procedures for refurbishing the computers we donate.

Transmission Project