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"I Built It!" Louisville Teens Learn Computer Repair

MTTC Program Helps Train Teens for Community Service, Careers in Technology

This article appears in the Nov. 21, 2002 Issue of Louisville Defender

Louisville, October 22, 2002--Give a teenager a computer, and he will play computer games. Give a teenager computer repair training and she will be empowered to choose a career in computer technology and give back to her community for a lifetime.

On Monday, October 21, eight teens, ages 13-17, received certificates from the McConnell Technology & Training Center (MTTC) and the Shawnee Gardens Tenants Association (SGTA) lauding their successful completion of computer repair training.

"I Built It! The MTTC PC Workshop for Teens" is a sixteen-hour class held on two consecutive Saturdays. It teaches young people how to

  • troubleshoot and perform basic PC repairs
  • upgrade PC components
  • install a Windows operating system
  • configure the operating system
  • partition ans set up the hard disk
  • use diagnostic software
  • replace hardware components
Teens from 13-17 learn to install a Windows operating system on computers they assembled themselves during the first day of computer repair training.

As part of the class. the eight teens at Shawnee Gardens each took apart and completely rebuilt a PC from scratch. Andthe best part, according to 16-year old Monet Duke, a student at Shawnee High School: "At the the end of the class, we each got to take our computer home. And now I know what I'm doing with computers. It's cool."

The teen class was sponsored through a grant from the Governor's Office of Technology (GOT), and is just one part of the overall "Bridging the Digital Divide" grant award to the SGTA and MTTC. The GOT Digital Divide grant has allowed MTTC and SGTA to establish a self-sustaining computer repair business at the Shawnee Gardens Apartments, with computer repair services provided by community residents who have been trained through MTTC's computer repair career training program.

Troubleshooting and changing display colors on computer monitors is just one skill participants in the MTTC PC Workshop for Teens cover during their sixteen hours of training.

Cheryl Hammock, program administrator for SGTA, explained "The grand from the Governor's Office of Technology empowered us to begin a computer repair business at Shawnee Gardens. But we needed a foundation for the program, a way to give computer repair training to people, so our partnership with MTTC was a perfect fit. The grant allows us to train groups of people, including youth, so that they have the foundation to build this computer repair business from the ground up."

The eight students who participated in the "I Built It!" class will each perform ten hours of volunteer service in the computer repair facility at Shawnee Gardens in exchange for their scholarships.

"I Built It" The MTTC PC Workshop for Teens" Participants Proudly hold their Certificates at the Shawnee Gardens Tenants Association Awards Ceremony. From left: Walter Smith, (represented by his father, Walter Smith, Jr.), Jo'Nikia Brown, Tonnea Green, Remy Hammick, Monet Duke, Jacinta Scruggs, Steven Freeman, and Sherri Craig.

Clifford H Turner, President of Land Development Services, Inc. , developer of Shawnee Gardens Apartments, explained how the collaboration between SGTA and MTTC began. "In the beginning, we worked with MTTC and State Representative Paul Bather to win a grant from GOT.   We wanted to empower ourselves through this program, to enable us to empower others."

Mr. Turner was clear that the grant was not a “hand-out” for Shawnee Gardens residents. “We’re not looking for fish. We are looking to be able to learn to fish.”

Later next year, the resident and teen-run Shawnee Gardens Computer Repair Business will work with the Stephen Foster Senior Living Plus facility (located in the 90-year old former Stephen Foster Elementary School building) to help teach low-income elderly residents how to use computers. Shawnee Gardens Computer Repair Business will also assist with part of the installation and wiring that will be included in each of the apartments for the elderly to enable them to connect to the Internet

“This has just been a phenomenal program,” exclaimed MTTC Program Manager Peggy Meyer. “These kids have really done well in their classes, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of them, and their parents for helping to make this program a reality.”