The John R. Oishei Foundation is awarding $150,000 to Mission: Ignite – Powered by Computers For Children – for its Foundations For the Future Capacity Building Initiative. The $150K is part of an even larger fundraising drive to expand the physical presence of the organization’s warehouse and back office workspace. Mission: Ignite affords students from local high schools, and higher education institutions, to participate in workforce training/internship initiatives involving technology and the certified refurbishment of computers.
The early formations of Computers For Children mainly focused on providing computers to schools in need. Over the years, the training and tech service aspects have become an integral component of the program. The students involved with the apprenticeship program are offered valuable IT training, which is centered upon advancing STEM/STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts and math] proficiencies.
Robert Gioia, President of the John R. Oishei Foundation said, “We’re excited to see this organization evolving — from concentrating mainly on placing computers in schools and training children to now broadening its focus on technology services and training to include non-profits, schools, immigrant and refugee populations, and of course, parents and children, our community will be positively affected. And, it’s exciting to see the expansion of a work force training site for high-demand, high-tech jobs.”
Part of the new initiative is to offer local non-profits the help that they need to keep their IT departments current, by offering technical support and solutions. The apprentice program affords students the opportunity to work with experienced computer technicians, so that they can achieve a scalable ladder of success. The goal is for the students to reach a proficiency level that will elevate them to a level where they become a technical support resource for local nonprofits that work with Mission Ignite. In exchange, the apprentices gain the necessary training and job skills that they will need to successfully enter into a competitive workforce.
Qualified program participants are provided with a refurbished desktop computer, as are nonprofit organizations that are in need of increased technology capacity, in order to achieve the mission objectives. Another benefit of this latest funding stream is the development of a retail and e-commerce division (sales and service departments) that will service low to moderate income consumers. There is also a green angle – servicing computers keeps them out of landfills. That’s just an added bonus to a program that promises to deliver IT training to those looking of it, while providing non-profits with a tech boost that they deserve, and finally servicing a segment of the population that needs a helping hand when it comes to tech sales and servicing. Now, that’s a lot of wins for everyone involved.