The pace of technological change in today’s economy has never been greater. It will accelerate still further, in an exponential manner. The best jobs created in the technology age will be filled by those who possess the skills required to compete for them and carry them out. The technology-driven marketplace of the 21st century will add over 20 million jobs to the American economy by 2020 – if we can only educate our young people to fill them.
Across the board, every industry is integrating technology into their operations, from the application process, to the most basic of job functions. The use of Microsoft Office, typing skills, and overall computer literacy has become a staple in the workplace. Additionally, job placement and promotion is determined by one’s ability to use technology. Technology has become a part of nearly every industry and thus technology skills are essential to succeed in today’s job economy. Access to a computer and the Internet is an essential piece of developing technological literacy. The most critical group to educate is youth who will be entering the workforce, and adults who still have years of employment ahead of them.
Students without computers will not be able to compete academically with other students who have access to technology in the home. By not being exposed to technology on a regular basis now, these students will lack the essential skills needed to compete and excel in the global economy once they enter the workforce.
Without the benefit of readily available technology in the home combined with appropriate training, youth at their most critical stage of learning and cognition are at a major disadvantage that will limit their educational achievement, future job prospects and earning potential. The On It Foundation is working to bridge this technology gap through its mission to provide free computers and 21st Century skill sets to disadvantaged households with children in grades K-12 that meet the required income guidelines. To qualify for free computer equipment, a student must receive a free or reduced school lunch and attend a public school within the United States.
The On It Foundation provides free technological tools (PC’s and laptops) and 21st Century Curriculum to include STEM Programs and career assessments, job readiness training (for students and their parents), as well as collaborative courses to include Physical Education, Nutrition, Self Empowerment, Service Learning Programs, Leadership, Financial Literacy, Net-Etiquette, Character Development and Social Life Skill Sets and Transition.
The On It Foundation receives donations of surplus computers from corporations and individuals. The equipment is upgraded by networking engineers who generously donate their services to making sure the computers are fully equipped and operational. The computers* are then placed directly in the homes of qualified students by our computer technicians. *Computers are donated based on availability. Twenty hours of instructional 21st Century training in the home, online and/or at a CTC (Community Technology Center) comes with the computer.
The effects of our free computer distribution program can extend to other family members as well. In many cases, the adults in the home who do not possess computer skills are able to learn through exposure to technology. To date, the On It Foundation has donated over 2000 free computers to low-income families with school-age children in grades K-12. We have also provided over 7500 volunteer hours of computer training to the recipients of our computers.