Thanks to Facebook grant of $10,000, Crook County Open Campus is offering a computer certification course

by: CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Suzie Kristensen, administrator of the COCC Prineville Campus, and Matt McCoy, COCC vice president of administration, accepted a grant from Facebook for computer certification courses April 4.

The COCC Crook County Open Campus has received a $10,000 grant from Facebook to offer computer certification courses to Crook County High School students.

“These classes teach job skills that I think could greatly benefit the students,” said Paul Stennett, program manager for COCC’s Community Learning department. “For a high school student to have studied and passed this test is a big deal. These students then have the credential to work in a computer store and/or start their own business.”

The certification course is open to all Crook County High School students who are at least 16 years old. Each student will be required to fill out a questionnaire and take a preliminary test to check the level of their computer skills.

“This class is best suited for those who have computer experience with software and hardware as it is a challenging class and exam,” said Stennett, who will be the instructor for the course. “Someone with little experience can get a lot out of it, but passing the certification test will be very difficult.

“I will be working with the Prineville COCC campus administrator, Suzie Kristensen, and the high school to recruit students for this class. We will choose our meeting times based on the students’ schedules. Students who are interested or parents who have questions need to contact me right away at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We are making a list of interested students.”

This course, book and exam fee would normally cost more than $800. With the support of the Facebook grant for the instructor, books, supplies and testing costs, the course will be offered to the students for only $50, which includes the book and the exam fees.

Facebook presented more than $105,000 in grants to 21 Crook County nonprofit organizations on April 4 in a ceremony at the data center. This is the fourth year of the company’s grant program. Other recipients include a community vision screening program, the high school and middle school track programs and a middle school wind-turbine design competition.

COCC recognizes that an education is the key to earning a living wage, but also recognizes that lack of financial resources is one of the biggest obstacles of getting an education, according to Kristensen.

“With a mission to be responsive to the community it serves, COCC has identified information technology (IT) as a viable career option for entry-level professionals,” said Kristensen. “This course is an invitation to those who want to be employable, but might not be in a position to seek an advanced degree at this point in their lives.”

The pilot course will be offered in spring 2014 over a 12-week period and again in summer 2014.

At the end of the 12 weeks, students will then take all the necessary exams for the certification. The first group of students will be limited to 10 to ensure the instructor has enough time to work with each student. After evaluating the course, the course will be offered a second time to a second group after changes in class delivery, class size and class schedule have been made in accordance with the student evaluation results.

The certification course that COCC will offer is a Comp TIA A+ Certification course. The Comp TIA A+ certification course is the starting point for those who are interested in a career in IT. The program was developed by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) to provide a means of certifying the competency of computer service technicians throughout the industry. CompTIA, a nonprofit trade association, offers IT certifications that are technology-neutral and vendor-neutral and recognized internationally and across the IT industry.

Topics covered in this course are maintenance of personal computers, mobile devices, laptops, operating systems and printers. This certification is required for Dell, Intel and Lenovo service techs and is held by 900,000 IT professionals industrywide. A sample of jobs that use Comp TIA A+ are technical support specialists, field service technicians, and IT support technicians, administrators and specialists.

The benefits of the CompTIA certification include a demonstration of professional achievement; an increase in one’s marketability; greater opportunity for advancement; an increase in customer confidence in the services offered.

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