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Going the distance for technology education

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Providing in-demand skills

According to Shain, many people in Madison are participating in the benefits of an information society; however, there still is a large gap between those in the community who have access to technology training and those who do not have the needed technology background to be competitive.

“By funding organizations who work closely with underserved technology populations, both public and private, TEF is helping more adults to obtain crucial technology skills. As well, TEF is an important part of the equation that helps local employers find and have access to skilled workers. We hope that this will encourage more companies to locate in the area, and those companies already here to grow.”

In order to provide its grants, a TEF selection committee reviews funding applications annually. Awards based on relevance to technology education, scope of impact, creativity, and geographic location, explains Shain. “As an example, we have been pleased with the work of the YWCA. They are working hard to provide technology education to underrepresented women. They have a developing track record of providing these skills for underemployed women to join the work force.”

Recipients of the 2016 TEF grants are:

School District of Monroe: $9,000 for three Makerbot Replicator desktop 3D printers for each elementary school.

Huegel Elementary School: $4,928 for Dreambox for their second, third, and fourth grade students. Dreambox is an online math program that provides extensive data on student progress.

Chavez Elementary School: $5,300 for Chromebooks, internet service, a laser printer, and related hardware to be used in the Trail to Success after-school programming and parent empowerment training.

Vera Court Neighborhood Center: $5,000 to help launch Vera Vision 2020. This campaign will double the size the of the current center and intensify its academic programming to ensure every child has the support they need to read at grade level and graduate high school.

DANEnet: $10,000 for Everyone On Madison, a new initiative to close the digital divide in Madison. Everyone On Madison will help connect families to home internet services, and provide refurbished desktop computers and digital literacy education to 500 households.

Madison Metropolitan School District: $5,000 to support a project to implement Mobile Makers in MMSD’s elementary schools. Mobile Maker will engage the district’s elementary school students in learning experiences that will help them build complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaborative skills.

Boys & Girls Club: $5,000 to put toward Engineering in Action: Community Building, a new STEM program that BGCDC will be implementing in fall 2016. This 16-week program enables participants to learn engineering principles and practices.

Maydm: $2,500 for iPads to be used by students in hardware and Arduino programming, coding exercises, and web development.

Madison Children’s Museum: $5,000 to support the 2016–17 MCM STEAM Programming series, which will have the theme of virtual reality.

Aldo Leopold Nature Center: $3,000 to fund electronic hardware to ensure functionality of their high-tech meets high-touch educational exhibits and field studies programs.

YWCA: $10,000 for Macbook Air laptops to support YWeb Career Academy. The YWeb Career Academy program provides instruction in website development skills through an intensive training institute.

Wisconsin Youth Company: $9,584 for laptops with sixth generation i7 processors accessible to approximately 200 students; this will upgrade the current computer lab.

St. James Catholic School: $5,500 to implement an information technology plan to supplement its current curriculum. The funds will go to purchase tablets for junior high grades.

Sector67: $8,300 to provide 10 portable workstations that will enable after-school clubs to expand and grow. Sector67 serves many facets of the Madison community, including educational outreach and programs oriented toward middle school students.

Berbee Derby

As always, the 2016 Berbee Derby will be held this year on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, and all proceeds from the event will fund TEF grants that help support area technology projects. Berbee Derby information and online registration is available at

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