TJC students learn to build computers, efforts donated
BY EMILY GUEVARAeguevara@tylerpaper.com
Three Tyler area nonprofit organizations are benefitting from a first-time partnership aimed at putting students to work in the community.
Tyler Junior College and the Workforce Solutions of East Texas teamed up to offer a four-week computer assembly course for students ages 14 to 21.
The nine participants learned how to identify the different parts of the computer and how to build one.
Together, the class wrote a request for proposal so that the nonprofits could apply to receive the computers.
The Literacy Council of Tyler will receive four computers. Meals on Wheels Ministry will receive three and Junior Achievement of the Greater Tyler Area will receive two.
Representatives from two of the three organizations were at TJC Monday to talk about receiving the donation.
"It means a lot," said Ellie Fischer, ESL supervisor for the Literacy Council of Tyler. "As you know, nonprofits, we're always looking for help either funding or like this. It's a God-send for us."
The computers will go into the organization's Family Learning Center to serve adults who are learning basic computer skills and taking parenting and/or language classes.
Ms. Fischer said the additional computers will allow students to have their own work station rather than sharing.
Jim Guay, Junior Achievement executive director, said the organization depends on computers to communicate with teachers, volunteers and others.
Junior Achievement exists to teach students about business, economics, financial literacy and workforce readiness. Guay said the donated computers will allow them to replace an aging one in addition to simply having more.
his is so timely and so awesome that we have gotten this donated to us because of the need we have ...," he said. "We're doing the same thing they're doing with this program is teaching (the students) skills that will serve them through life."
This is the first time TJC's School of Continuing Studies has partnered with Workforce Solutions of East Texas for this specific program.
Carla Curtis, the school's program development manager, said the idea behind the program was to provide short-term training to enable students to enter the workforce quickly and make more than minimum wage.
Ms. Curtis worked with Bill Byrd, TJC professor of wide-area network (WAN) technology, to create the course which Workforce Solutions of East Texas then approved. The Texas Workforce Commission funded the program.
Rhonda McGrath, East Texas Workforce Solutions disability navigator, said the program targeted people who may not have graduated from high school, are young mothers, or are economically disadvantaged, among oth
Dontavion Johnson, 17, of Tyler, said he's always had an interest in computers and wanted to learn more about how they worked. He said this class provided a good all around experience and he is pleased to know his work will help others.
"I feel honored because (the nonprofits) needed the help and ... I can do something to put somebody else in a better position to better their life and at the same time better mine as well," he said.
In addition to learning about computers, students learned about workplace etiquette, how to develop a resume and how to conduct a successful job interview.