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$20K grant helps CASA de Maryland improve digital literacy among young Latinos

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Published on: Monday, October 28, 2013

By Alexis A. Goring

CASA de Maryland, an organization in Prince George’s County, known as Maryland’s foremost Latino and immigrant organization and a national leader in supporting immigrant families, received $20,000 in grant money from The Comcast Foundation on Feb. 4 to support its Youth Computer Literacy Program.

The Youth Computer Literacy Program provides computer training and career counseling to young people between the ages of 15 and 24.

“Comcast has a vested interest in providing young people every opportunity to be prepared for the future, and we are committed to ensuring young people throughout Maryland have access to the tools they need to succeed,” said Donna Rattley Washington, Comcast Regional Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs. “CASA de Maryland’s Youth Computer Literacy program provides young people with opportunities to enhance their job search skills, boosting their future employment prospects. Through funding from the Comcast Foundation, 35 young people will be able to participate in CASA de Maryland’s program this year. We expect the program will help the participants stimulate their economic potential and become more self-sufficient adults.”

Through the program, CASA de Maryland has helped young people improve their digital literacy and computer-based job searching capabilities to boost their employment prospects, according to a press release.

The program exposes participants to commonly-used computer applications used in the workplace, including Microsoft Office. CASA also offers vocational training in computer repair and one-on-one job counseling sessions for program participants.

“Community groups like ours would not be able to do this very important work if it weren’t for the kind contributions of partners like Comcast,” said Virginia Kase, Director of Education and Centers of CASA de Maryland. “CASA is proud of this partnership and we hope that it will continue for as long as a need exists.”

CASA’s Youth Computer Literacy program provides online job seeking skills for active job-seeking through the use of online resources and tools, computer literacy training on commonly used computer applications and software that are utilized in the workplace including Microsoft office, along with computer repair vocational training where youth receive computer repair training which covers basic PC hardware concepts, upgrading procedures, and basic software installation procedures, Kase said.

“The program serves low-income youth who are at-risk,” said Kase. “Youth who enter the program must demonstrate a commitment to complete classes and a desire to improve their technology skills.”

CASA de Maryland aimed to use the grant money to cover the cost of their staff and instructors as well as computer equipment and software.

“Our hope is that the youth who complete this program go on to meaningful employment and attain a post-secondary degree at some point,” Kase said. “The reality for many of the young people in our community is that they must often work to put themselves through school. Having these technology skills not only help them find work that will help support them while they are pursuing their education, but it also helps them in the classroom with their studies. The youth are better equipped to face the world because they are learning independent skills that will last them a lifetime such as resume preparation, how to complete a job application, how to dress for an interview and how to conduct themselves in an interview.”



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