The Center for Public Computing and Workforce Development was established through a grant with the sole purpose of offering public computing to the FAMU and Tallahassee community as well as offer workforce development training.
The center is now looking to enhance its awareness with the FAMU community to ensure its existence.
“We are definitely a hidden gem and we are always looking to team up with students because it is kind of hard to get our word out,” said Breanna Darnell, the office manager for CPCWD for the past few years. “I have been working here for about five years beginning as a computer technician and I can assure you that I know every client by their first and last name.”
Darnell started as a freshman in the School of Business and Industry and was recruited by Sterling Adams, the center’s director when she was just a volunteer. “We are in a building that a lot of people don’t really know about. We are on social media but that is relatively new,” Darnell added. Located in the At the M.S. Thomas building, the center was off to a good start when Adams and his team collaborated with the FAMU Enterprise Informational Technology Division, the Department of Workforce Education of the FAMU College of Education, FAMU Small Business Development Center, the Leon County Leroy Collins Public Library System, the Metropolitan Design & Consulting Group, Inc. Data Set Ready Inc., and Carney Solutions, Inc to create this center with a $1.9 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in September 2010.
“In short, the grant was for funding a university based public computing center that provides workforce development opportunities to build 21st century skills through certifications and training,” Darnell said.
The grant officially ended on Sept. 30, 2014. “Prior to the grant ending, we had five years where we were just wrapping up the grant because you can’t just give away all your products. So we were in the process of just closing out our grant and that was when we were officially funded by the FAMU ITS program,” Darnell said.
The center offers free and diverse training from the Microsoft Office Suite to their most recent coding programs. They pride themselves on focusing on providing coding training to the minority community.
“I have known about this center since my sophomore year,” said Kendall Harris, a public relations student from Tallahassee. “It is very convenient for me because every day they give you 10 pages of free printing and they just added the Adobe creative cloud to their computers which is extremely helpful for my graphics classes since I don’t have the software at home,” Harris added.
The center is a one-of-a-king operation in Tallahassee.
“What sets us apart from the several workforce development communities in the city of Tallahassee is that we offer free public computing as well as workforce development,” Darnell said. “We are open to the public six days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and since we have such an intimate setting, you get that one on one training,” Darnell said.
The center is making strides to bring awareness to the campus and is also asking current clients to write letters of appreciation to ensure that they are performing at top quality. “We’ve hosted different events like mentorship programs on campus over the summer,” said Darnell. “We also offer free facility reservations currently to the public, however, because we are a computer based program we ask that there are some computer based training involved in the event.
“I don’t know where we will be in the next two years, but we’re just hoping to sustain our program.”