BY ALAN HOSKINS
For four weeks this summer, 33 young men and women were literally elbow deep in developing hardware and job skills.
Hosted by Kansas City Kansas Community College and Johnson County Community College, the program reached out to 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.
The program also enabled 13 non-profit organizations to receive 44 personal computers constructed by the students during the four-week program.
“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. Graduation ceremonies earlier this month were held in the Performing Arts Center at KCKCC.
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. Garmin, Sprint, Huhtamaki, EARP and the Kansas City Startup Village all 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, the donation of 44 computers to 13 non-profit organizations and the private-sector participation throughout the camp,” said Jay Matlack, Workforce Development Coordinator at KCKCC..
The assembled personal computers were made available to non-profit, service-providing organizations in the three counties through a Request for Proposal for qualified organizations. Participants were responsible for writing the RFP and working with the proposals as part of the learning process for the training.
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.