PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Port Chester's Don Bosco Community Center has launched a new computer lab to teach kids the digital skills they will need to compete later in life.
The new computer lab was created using funds donated by Richard Cashin and Robert Niehaus and designed by CMIT Solutions of Southern Westchester, a local IT service provider. The lab consists of five Windows-based PC's, six Macs, tow laser printers and one Mondopad. Classes in digital media and programming will be taught by instructors from Digital Arts Experience in White Plains.
Paul Okura, the president of CMIT Solutions, said that he became involved in the project because the world is quickly moving online, and kids need to learn how to use computers in order to compete in the job market.
"We're trying to expose children in Port Chester to this technology to get them ready for real life and teach them how to collaborate digitally," Okura said. He said that the Port Chester kids will be able to learn the same skills taught in some of the more affluent communities surrounding the village.
"By giving the children the opportunity to be exposed to technology at a younger age, they will be no different in their ability to tap into the digital world."
The computer lab is split between PC's and Macs so that children can learn skills for both creative work, which typically favor Macs, as well as skills needed in the business world, which use Windows, Okura said. The Mondopad, a large touch-screen presentation monitor, will allow the kids to collaborate and share their work with others.
Okura said that he's seen professionals who may be the best in their fields, but still struggle when it comes to technology. As more and more fields such as finance, medicine and law move online, he said that today's students can not afford to lack skills in digital programming, web design and coding. With such a large Spanish-speaking population in Port Chester, Okura said that the computer skills will help kids breach language barriers and gain access to multi-lingual material.
"By the time these children grow up, they're going to me much more competitive. They have no barriers, they will absorb information like a sponge, and will be much more technology savvy than their parents," Okura said.