Lansing Partnership Provides Tech Empowerment, Opportunity
LANSING — In the time of year when giving is on nearly everyone’s mind, Lansing’s Information Technology Empowerment Center and local business partners are working to share empowerment and hope with local families in a nontraditional way: With technology.
ITEC will host a celebration for the graduates of their new Everyday Digital course, an intense series of classes for adults that focus on developing basic computer skills, at 11 a.m. Wednesday in the Foster Community Center.
Now, thanks to a donation from Liquid Web, the Lansing-based Web hosting provider, students who successfully completed the eight-week adult education course will be recognized during the ceremony with a certificate of completion, and a surprise gift — a donated desktop computer to encourage further technological growth outside of the classroom.
“It helped me not be afraid anymore,” shared Charles Vaden, a new Everyday Digital graduate. “I could go to higher learning now. I could go into a job with it. I could help my kids with their homework, and I can help myself considering how fearful I was. Now I’m not intimidated.”
Started earlier this fall, ITEC’s Everyday Digital Program, teaches students about computer use and upkeep, online security, basic word processing, strategies for job searching and social media. Students are successfully recruited through a number of community partnerships, including Capital Area Michigan Works.
“This course is an inclusive first step for Lansing adults who haven’t had access to computers,” shared Kirk Riley, ITEC Executive Director. “Support from community partners like Liquid Web, Lansing Community College, Microsoft, the Dart Foundation and Capital Region Community Foundation means there are more ways to overcome the digital divide.”
In addition to providing adult computer literacy courses, ITEC uses kid-friendly programs like Lego robotics, video game design, programming and movie editing to teach lessons in science, technology and math in community schools, churches and community centers. ITEC provides after-school tech fun in nine locations: Otto, Gardener and Pattengill Middle Schools, Sexton High School, St. Stephen’s Church, The Black Child and Family Institute, The Westside and Oak Park YMCAs of Lansing, and The Boys and Girls Club of Lansing.
ITEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with students and families in the greater Lansing area to build excitement for coursework and careers in science, technology, engineering and math. A collaborative partnership between community, business, education, and government, ITEC is making an impact in Lansing by developing the region’s talent.