At the beginning of the year we kicked off a project to teach middle and high school students computer recycling and refurbishing skills at Washington Technology Magnet School. We based the class off the curriculum we use to train students at Guadalupe Alternative Program School but instead of preparing the students to enter the workforce immediately, the goal at Washington Tech is to spark interest in technology-related fields and increase computer literacy for future academic and career success.
MCFS trainer, Mike Kingbird, teaches students marketable technology skills – from basic computer literacy to complex technical thinking to recycling and refurbishing computers. Throughout the course, students work on earning their IC3 (Internet and Computing Core Certification) certificate. Upon completion of IC3 each student has the opportunity to earn a laptop.
Many of the students at the St. Paul school come from low-income families and lack of computer access and skills puts them at a disadvantage for academic success and securing employment. This program was designed to not only teach them how to use a computer, but to give them an opportunity to earn their own computer. Having a computer at home is huge for these students – it allows them to complete homework, conduct research, apply for jobs.
Beyond having a computer, at the completion of the program, students have skills that will help them secure employment and succeed in school. From basic computer skills like word processing, typing and how to use the Internet to more complex skills like computer recycling and refurbishing the program helps ignite a passion for computers and empowers students to prepare for a technology-related career.