Westside residents celebrate their graduation.

WesTech students listen to a speaker at their graduation

Computer Course Brightens Prospects for Westside Residents

Twenty adult students, residents of the Westside neighborhood, donned caps and gowns at the James A. Henry Resource Center recently for a special graduation ceremony. The group completed a computer hardware and technology training course provided by WesTech Community Technology Center, a joint venture between UTC and the Westside Community Development Corporation.

"Our goal is to make people job-ready," said Dr. William Henry, who is project manager and teaches classes at the Center. It took the residents three months to complete the course. Graduates are proficient in their use of the Internet, e-mail and computer programs, including Power Point, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Windows.

The program is funded by a grant and sponsored by UTC's College of Health and Human Services. Corporate sponsorship has also allowed each graduate to receive a used computer.

Sponsors include the Chattanooga Police Department, Chattanooga Electronic Recycling, Chattanooga State Technical Community College, Dollar General Store, Family and Children's Services, Family Resource Center, Newton Childcare Center, Tennessee Department of Human Services, and the Westside Community Development Corporation.

Henry encourages donations of used Pentium level PC computers or parts, disc drives, modems, software and other computer equipment.

"Recently, the WesTech Community Technology Center negotiated for 25 free Pentium 166 and 200 computers from a company called MindShare in Boston," Henry said.

Volunteers with computer skills, especially those proficient in a specific software, are welcome at the Center.

For more information, please call Henry at (423) 634-0175.