Keep Central Texas Strong

Like many organizations, Skillpoint Alliance has been feeling the lingering effects of the economic recession of late. Given our mission, now is the most important time for our organization to be strong and provide the programs and skills that Central Texans need to continue their education and stay viable in the workforce. In light of this, we recently reached out to the community through an event called ‘Keep Central Texas Strong’. This was a fund drive that culminated in a concert at Stubb’s BBQ on Monday, May 9th. It was a great event that allowed us to get together with all of our friends and sponsors while supporting our programs and I believe that everybody had a very good time. We’d like to thank Jonathan Terrell, a.k.a. ‘The Heartache Tycoon’, who provided the musical stylings, as well as all of our friends and sponsors who support our organization–through this event and many others. Special thanks to AMD, who was the top donor of the Keep Central Texas Strong campaign. Thank you all!

To view more information on Keep Central Texas Strong, visit www.skillpointalliance.org/KeepCentralTexasStrong

If you would like to make a donation to Skillpoint Alliance, please visit www.skillpointalliance.org/donate

Jonathan Terrell onstage at Stubb's during Keep Central Texas Strong

Jonathan Terrell onstage at Stubb's during Keep Central Texas Strong

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Gateway Construction Featured on CNN

February 26, 2010 2 comments

 

Each month, from now until August, the CNN Express is hitting the road with correspondent Tom Foreman, seeking out tales of how people are Building Up America despite the economic hard times.

First stop: Texas. Some economists have predicted that the corridor from Austin to San Antonio is on the leading edge of a nationwide recovery. Tom looks to find out why, chatting with local officials, business owners, and citizens. One featured stop is the Skillpoint Alliance Gateway Construction program at the ACC Riverside campus.

Tom’s Building Up America stories from Texas are featured on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, American Morning, Situation Room, and other shows. In addition, expanded coverage of the trip will be available on CNN.com.

This post has been having technical difficulties, so if the video fails to pop up, you can view it here instead: http://www.youtube.com/user/SkillpointAustin#p/f/15/wxIFfDyYWTY

Partner Post: Girlstart to Graduate First Project IT Girl class!

prject-it-girl1Girlstart, an Austin non-profit founded in 1997 to empower girls to excel in math, science, and technology, is proud to announce the first Project IT Girl graduation on May 22 from 6 to 9 pm at Austin City Hall.

Project IT Girl is an exclusive program for 60 high school girls throughout Austin, Texas to learn how to change the world through the use of Information Technology! Program participants apply technology to global topics they are passionate about to educate and persuade their peers.

Girlstart has enrolled 60 high school girls for this three year program. Participants remain in the program from their sophomore year of high school through their high school graduation in 2009. All participants are required to attend 120 hours of Girlstart meetings each year for three years and complete evaluation activities. Program meetings are held at Austin Community College campuses and the Girlstart Tech Center.

Year One: Project IT Girl participants created public service announcements to educate their peers about global issues such as “Animal Welfare”, “Teen Suicide, and “AIDS/HIV Awareness.”

Year Two: Project IT Girl participants created educational games using Python to be submitted to the One Laptop per Child for possible distribution to schools around the world!

Year Three: Project IT Girl participants will learn critical leadership skills, serve their community, and prepare for college all while using HTML and CSS to create personal online portfolios showcasing their academic and professional accomplishments. The IT Girls will also participate in a semester-long technology internship, gaining valuable hands-on experience to add to their resumes.

The girls will present their final projects to C3 Presents and Motorola at 6 pm and will graduate at 7:30. The ceremony will be followed by an hors d’oeuvres reception.

To RSVP for this event, please email first and last name to rsvp@girlstart.org with “May 22, 2009” in the subject line.

Parking for this event is free. The entrance to the garage is on Lavaca Street on the east side of City Hall. Upon entering the garage, look for signs directing you to the “public” parking area. Take your parking ticket inside to be validated.

Skillpoint’s Infectious Disease Plan

Although the North American H1N1 flu pandemic appears to be a mild strain and its threat continues to subside, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that organizations not shelve their contingency plans just yet as new flu strains tend to come in waves and the future of the virus cannot be projected with any accuracy.

A case of North American H1N1 was confirmed yesterday at a North Austin pre-k. While we do not think the virus will be a threat to our programs and normal activities, please read the following plan because of the proximity of the confirmed case to Skillpoint locations and CTTC’s campus partnership with Austin Independent School District (AISD).

In the event of AISD campus closures of our CTTC locations, CTTC will comply with AISD policy and will not hold CTTC classes in the evenings at these campuses. Instead, CTTC will try to accommodate the students of cancelled classes at the downtown location. We will add classes in the afternoons and evenings to ensure that the services you depend upon remain available to you, should any schedule changes become necessary.

We will spray our labs with disinfectant before classes. We will also hire additional custodial staff as necessary.

We ask that if you experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, chills, a dry cough, sneezing, vomiting or diarrhea to please stay home.

CTTC will continue to monitor the situation and will post any campus closures on our Website, www.skillpointalliance.org and our blog, www.skillpointalliance.wordpress.com.

Categories: CTTC, In the News Tags: , , , ,

The New Digital Divide: Access to High-Speed Internet Necessary but Unobtainable

While the “digital divide” of the 1990s has abated as more Americans own their own computer, a new digital divide threatens the rural and low-income to middle-class populations in the US.

The new divide separates the high-speed Internet connection haves from the have-nots. Some have-nots simply cannot afford the expense of high-speed Internet. According to the Communications Workers of America (CWA), “in the U.S., DSL generally reaches speeds of up to 1.5 – 3.0 megabytes per second (mbps) at a price averaging $30-$50 per month while cable modems generally reach speeds of 3-5 mbps for $40-$50 per month.” By contrast, “in Japan, an average connection with a speed of 26 mbps costs about $22 per month.” The expense of Internet, an invaluable resource, is becoming a luxury for many American families due to job uncertainty or unemployment who are forced to cancel subscriptions.

Another group of have-nots simply do not live in an area serviced by high-speed Internet providers. Typically, rural areas fare the worst. The CWA reported that “only 17% of adults in rural areas subscribe to high speed Internet compared to 31% in urban and 30% in suburban areas.” While it may seem like these rural areas are far-flung, out-of-the-way places, one may be surprised that this issue hits close to home. Bastrop, only an hour east of Austin, does not receive any broadband services.

So why does this matter? The Website SpeedMatters.org explains it well.

“High speed Internet is essential for economic growth and global competitiveness. The United States – the country that invented the Internet – has fallen from 1st to 15th in high-speed Internet penetration. High-tech innovation, job growth, telemedicine, distance learning, rural development, public safety, and e-government require truly high-speed, universal networks.”
Skillpoint Alliance and CTTC agree with SpeedMatters.org. The US needs national, universal high-speed Internet access. It is time to replace the hodgepodge networks built by obscure government programs and private service providers.

Please take time to learn more about this issue. Speedmatters.org is a wonderful resource to learn why this is so important and how to get involved, and you can read about how broadband access can bring job growth to rural towns in a recent article in The Washington Post.

Partner Post: Diversity Conference

The Annual Diversity Conference hosted by Pflugerville ISD and the University of Texas at Austin invites you to participate in this free community event on Thursday, August 6, 2009 from 8:30 to 4 pm at Connally High School.


We will have many voices presenting at our conference including parents, students, professors, graduate students, teachers, educational experts from local museums, and representatives from various religions in an effort to help us deepen our understanding of our differences so that we may celebrate our similarities.

  

To RSVP:

 

  • Pflugerville teachers, K-12, need to register on Cornerstones
  • Community members, teachers and administrators from other districts, and all others who would like to attend should RSVP to one of the following PISD Diversity Steering Committee chairs by July 15, 2009:

Sincerely,

 

Holly Ingram, Coordinator

Guidance & Counseling Services

1401 W. Pecan Street

Pflugerville

(w) 512-594-0128

 

Mayoral Candidate Brewster McCracken Announces Video Contest Winner

Austin mayoral candidate Brewster McCracken announced the winner of his advertising campaign contest, “Your City, Your Vision, Your Ad” earlier this month. The contest was judged by local filmmakers including Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez and allowed Austinites to create their own commercial outlining their vision for Austin.

The winning ad, entitled “Weird Dream,” is described by The Austin Chronicle as a “slickly-produced clip hewing closely to McCracken orthodoxy – green jobs, digital entertainment…” It boasts some of Austin’s many fetes, such as being a leader in “the green revolution” and encourages Austin to continue to “dream weird.”

Skillpoint’s Digital Media Council (DMC) was excited to hear about this competition, which encourages local film makers to participate in the dialogue and create new projects.

“It’s exciting to see politicians using their campaign as a platform for local artists and filmmakers to show off their work,” Kristy Bowden, director of the DMC, said. “All of the submissions were fabulous and I can’t wait to see the winner’s ad air on TV.”

And in case you’re wondering how all of this fits into and is allowed in a political campaign, a press release issued by the McCracken camp at the launch of the contest explained that “because the airtime will be purchased with campaign funds, finance rules require the campaign to add disclosures to the winning ad before it is aired. However, this is not a “Brewster for Mayor” competition.  It is a creative competition.  Entries should not include mentions or visuals of any candidate – including McCracken.”

Be sure to check out all of the finalists at McCracken’s Web site.