NEW YORK, May 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) today announced the opening of the first Club Tech Center of Excellence, an expansion of the decade-long partnership of Club Tech, a program to bring technology access and skills training to children across the United States. The first Club Tech Center of Excellence opened yesterday at the Children's Aid Society Dunlevy Milbank Boys & Girls Club in the Harlem borough of New York, the location where the two organizations first launched Club Tech with Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton 10 years ago.
Club Tech Centers of Excellence represent the latest evolution of Club Tech, a BGCA program initiated by a $100 million donation from Microsoft in 2000 to provide software, training and development of a digital literacy curriculum. Currently, nearly 1 million kids and teens participate in the Club Tech program every year at more than 3,600 Boys & Girls Clubs around the world.
The Club Tech Centers of Excellence serve as shining examples of the possibilities of a world with state-of-the-art technology. They incorporate the latest Microsoft software, freshly designed space conducive for creative and collaborative work, and an expansive Club Tech curriculum such as newly added robotics programming and game development.
"Today's kids are using technology in new ways not dreamed of even 10 years ago when we first launched Club Tech," said Jon Roskill, corporate vice president of Business and Marketing Organization at Microsoft and Boys & Girls Clubs of King County board member. "To engage kids coming into the clubs, the experience must stay relevant, compelling and fun, so the Centers of Excellence represent the next generation of Club Tech. In addition, there are still millions of kids who need access to technology, and I am thrilled to help make that possible through our continued partnership with BGCA."
New Centers of Excellence to Encourage Learning, Exploration and Creativity
Boys & Girls Club members will have access to the latest Microsoft technology, including Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, and cutting-edge hardware. The backbone of the Centers of Excellence remains the Club Tech program, inclusive of curriculum, that trains on Microsoft software, and offers experience with Web design tenets, graphic design techniques, digital film editing and digital music composition through the Digital Arts Suite.
In addition to technical skills, the Club Tech program encourages critical thinking, project management and problem-solving skills. To help foster these skills, Boys & Girls Clubs featuring Club Tech Centers of Excellence will include designated and specially designed instructional and exploratory zones:
- The Instructional Zone is a traditional lab space where youth will learn and master technology fundamentals through classes and individual project work.
- The Exploratory Zone is a space within Boys & Girls Clubs' technology centers designed for team project work using advanced technology and skill sets. Use of the Exploratory Zone and its software, devices and tools is an incentive for kids and teens to become experienced technology users.
"When Club Tech was launched in 2000, the vision was to help level the virtual playing field by providing disadvantaged youth with the technology resources and skills to help them perform better in school and, eventually, the workplace," said Cyndi Court, executive vice president of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Members learn critical workforce skills — from creating a resume using word processing to designing websites and restoring computers — that help them perform better in school and expand their future career opportunities. The Club Tech Centers of Excellence will offer an extraordinary experience to develop the skills they need to succeed in life and help inspire them to reach their full potential to be great."
"I come to the club right after school and go right to the technology center. What I've learned makes me feel proud when I finish a project or an assignment," said Nicholas R., age 10. "I want a lot of kids around the country and in the neighborhood to join the Boys & Girls Club and be a part of something like Club Tech."
In addition to the first Club Tech Center of Excellence opening in the Harlem borough of New York yesterday, four additional Club Tech Centers of Excellence will open by end of this year with five more opening next year.
Additional information about Microsoft's partnership with BGCA is available at http://www.microsoft.com/about/corporatecitizenship/en-us/partnerships/boys-and-girls-club-of-america.aspx.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has enabled young people, especially those who need Clubs most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve more than 4.2 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize leadership development; education and career exploration; community service; technology training; financial literacy; health and life skills; the arts; sports, fitness and recreation; and family outreach. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.