Thursday, August 9, 2012

Students award computers to service organizations


Thanks to the efforts of 48 young men and women, 48 computers have been awarded to 14 non-profit, service-providing organizations in the three county area of Leavenworth, Johnson and Wyandotte counties.

The computers are the products of a four-week Computer Camp hosted by Kansas City Kansas Community College and Johnson County Community College.

Thirty-two of the computers were awarded to organizations in Wyandotte County, 10 were awarded in Johnson County and six in Leavenworth County.

“The program is designed to reach young people whose goal is to enter the workforce,” said Irene Brenon, Project Manager for Workforce Partnership. “This course offers them the opportunity to acquire the knowledge ’and workplace skills necessary to compete in today’s job market.”

Young people ages 18-21 with a high school diploma or GED participated in the program held on the two community college campuses and KCKCC’s Leavenworth Center.

“The goal of the program was to work with young people from Johnson, Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties to prepare them to be job ready with both hands-on-training utilizing the A+ computer curriculum and workforce readiness and ethics training,” said Jay Matlack, KCKCC Workforce Development Coordinator.

The month-long computer technician basic skills camp focused on many facets of training including understanding the basics of computer hardware and software; building a microcomputer; diagnostic and troubleshooting hardware problems; understanding and applying business writing skills; team building, leadership and business skills; and good workplace behavior and habits skill training.

A professional employment coach and mentor worked with each participant to develop and implement a personal plan to secure employment.

Both Garmin and Sprint opened their doors to the computer campers on special field trip days which enabled the youth to see firsthand how their learned skills could be applied.

“There are similar types of programs in other parts of the country, but this computer training is unique because of the additional employment placement component as well as the giving of the computers to organizations in need,” said Matlack.

When completed, the newly assembled computer hardware using new component parts were awarded to non-profit, service-providing organizations in all three counties through a Request for Proposal (RFP) for qualified organizations. Students were responsible for writing the RFP and working with the proposals as part of the learning process for the training.

Bethel Neighborhood Center was awarded seven of the 32 computers built by 28 Wyandotte County students while the Wyandotte Habitat for Humanity and Kansas Legal Services received five each.

Other recipients included CHWC, Inc, four computers; Seed Center KC Technology Program, three computers; Love Outreach International Ministries, Central Avenue Center of Hope, Argentine Betterment Group and Leavenworth Road Association, two each.

Six Leavenworth students took part, granting one computer to Birthright of Leavenworth with five others yet to be determined.

Johnson County’s 14 students awarded 10 computers, six to SAFEHOME, Inc., and two each to Health Partnership Clinic and Johnson County Habitat for Humanity. In addition, JCCC awarded a free A+ Certification class and exam to the student the top technical skills.

Training for the program was provided by JCCC and KCKCC faculty members. Funding for the program was provided by Workforce Partnership’s youth funding stream through the U.S. Department of Labor and the Workforce Investment Act. 

PHOTO: KCKCC instructor Bill Wyatt (right) gives a final check to a computer re-assembled by Terrell Johnson. A total of 28 Wyandotte County students were among 48 students taking part in Computer Camps at KCKCC and Johnson County Community College. (KCKCC Photo by Alan Hoskins)