During April – June, Neighborhood House has continued the Digital Connectors program at the Rainier Vista Computer Lab. They also added an I-BEST Technology Bridge class provided by Seattle Central Community College and an ESL basic class taught by a volunteer.
Some of the students in the class included young men recently arrived from Eritrea that utilized the class as a transition into American society. Muruts was a student in his twenties and had only been in the United States for about 5 months before starting the I-Bridge class. Muruts said he enrolled to gain “more knowledge, to learn English and how to look for work.” After learning the basic skills of using “Microsoft Word documents, saving documents, and searching online for work” he says he now feels more comfortable in Seattle. The class has helped him learn to “fill applications and write letters. This helps me find work.”
The I-BEST Bridge class was diverse not only in peoples’ origins but also in their skill levels. Kassu was a more advanced student originally from Ethiopia who has a computer at home but was challenged by trying to learn technology through “trial and error” method. As a Nursing Assistant the skills he learned in class help him at work and he is better at using programs like Microsoft Word. He says the class helped because “practice is the main thing” and he was able to both practice and learn new skills. While he thought he would not need the English taught during class it has proven to be a good “refresher”. Ultimately Kassu has used the class as a bridge; he says it “has pushed me to think about more class.” He is currently thinking about joining the I-BEST program at Seattle Central Community College or taking online classes. He would like to work in the Information Technology field someday. He says he is “dying to learn about it since it has so many applications.”
The Tech Center was also busy with many other activities during this period. They expanded hours to include 12 hours of open lab time per month. The staff also facilitated two Basic Computer Skills training classes for Home Care Aides from Service Employee International Union (SEIU). The lab provided space for the King County Work Training Program – Greenlight Project to help students to learn how to search for jobs and prepare resumes. They also offered a Free Tax Prep Workshop in April for people in the community to come in and get assistance to complete their income taxes.
Learn more about the 2010 Technology Matching Fund grantees at http://seattle.gov/tech/tmf/Projects2010.htm