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Building on existing computer training efforts

At the forefront of Digital City Mechanics (“DCM”) efforts is a new way to teach computer skills – to anybody.  We find that the current status quo in computer skills training does a great job getting people up to speed on Microsoft Office and how to use a mouse – but their efforts often end around “this is a USB memory stick?” or “here’s a Gmail account.”

DCM’s educational process picks up where users have safely acclimated themselves to the basic level of computer skill sets and are now ready to proceed to intermediate and advanced training.  Instead of teaching our trainees how to operate a specific piece of software or enter data into specific kinds of forms – DCM will be teaching the kind of intangible skills required to survive as an independent on-line worker – in a project based economy.

Rather than offer a prescribed sequence based curriculum, resulting in specific job skills for specific professions – DCM’s methodology allows for individual paths, adaptations and interpretations to be pursued, while leveraging an underlying set of assignments, project-based learning, on-line resources and community engagement programs.  DCM’s methodology combines on-line technology, with training and internship programs in local neighborhoods.  Job creation “bureaus” would be setup as training and access centers, but also to serve as a local hub of on-line activity, co-working, multimedia production work and all sorts of independent projects, events and workshops.

So the question at hand is: “if you’re proposing a NEW way to train and educate computer users, what about all those EXISTING training or educational efforts in our city or region – today?”

Whether these existing training efforts are vocational, academically based or just for personal usage  – it’s clear that many people benefit from this sort of beginning level training and that these kind of training classes are “an essential stage in any person’s learning process.” So that’s a good thing.  Hopefully 70-80-90% of the population can achieve a level of knowledge and comfort with PCs and mobile devices that they’ll then be ready to move onto considering working with these computer tools – in their day-to-day profession.

A graduate of a beginning level training class would then ask the question: “what else is needed to train a worker in the right skill sets to make a living – on-line?” That’s where DCM comes in.  We take ‘raw’ potential workers (who have already achieved this modicum of “beginning level knowledge”) and we offer them free intermediate and advanced training so that they can learn a wide range of skill sets – for the jobs of tomorrow.

DCM perfectly complements existing computer educational efforts in every regard.  Where beginning level computers users lack additional usage techniques or tricks, DCM can get them trained in these techniques.  Where practical knowledge and experience is required, DCM gives workers opportunities of immediately applying the skills sets (they just were trained in) into on-going, real-world applications, projects or services.  Where inspired, highly motivated trainees quickly move onto being paid interns, our system patiently waits till “the best and brightest” identify themselves – with no rushing or timelines dictating expectations. Where overlap and redundancy happen between DCM and other programs; we customize a trainee’s path to build on their existing knowledge and skills.

DCM’s methodology is an experiential learning approach where hands-on, real-world projects are created and utilized to train and intern workers.  DCM interns are paired with ‘head’ professionals and intermediate level ‘mentors’ who will instruct ‘interns’ in the way of the world.  In that sense DCM’s methodology is very much like the Knight (the pro) giving Squires (the mentors) tasks to execute, with the help of knaves (the interns.)

DCM’s new economy apprenticeship programs (as SF’s Mayor Ed Lee likes to call them) allow our interns the chance to try out various different kinds of professions, domain areas or skill sets – to help them ascertain just what exactly “they want to do.”  This approach to workforce training gives workers the chance at identifying their true “vocation” – and thus a happy and bountiful life.

DCM trains workers how to work at home, participate in remote meetings and conference calls and all of the intangibles and legal requirements necessary for surviving as a freelance, on-line worker.  Each trainee and intern who goes through DCM’s training programs will be able to ascertain which of these wide range of job skills and knowledge – will need to be put to use – and what proper time.  This confidence in one’s ability level and quality of execution – is core to the skills DCM trains.

Working at home breeds a freelance community and new kind of independent startup company.  Buddies from the local softball team or church can join together in a “virtual company” that only requires 5% of the local accountant’s time, 20% of the VP of marketing’s time and it’s one of 8 sales accounts that the local hot-shot sales guy is repping.  This virtual company can come together on-line, and execute to plan and generate revenues – without the need of an office, travel time or other kinds of overhead – which might well be the difference between profits or not.

The company’s founders stable local Internet access is the hi-way on which these local buddies get into work every day and the distribution channel on which their product gets delivered to the market.  This virtual company uses the Internet to market itself, run its meetings and deposit and withdraw money from the bank and get paid – as well. It’s all about on-line job skills and marketing YOURSELF into a community of like-minded, like-skilled co-workers.

Leaders and entrepreneurs will organize these virtual companies, some running more than one – at the same time.  Other kinds of startups might be more based on traditional “bricks and mortar” kind of locations or models – but they still utilize these new job skills – to at LEAST market their businesses – better!  Even farmers and local craftspeople or creative community members should be able to develop these kinds of on-line skill sets – to market THEIR products, services or events.

These kinds of job skills and insights are not for everybody.  This is also the difference between DCM’s approach and the status quo.  This is not a “no child left behind approach.”  This is a “best and brightest” approach to workforce training – a modern-day apprenticeship approach to training in independent on-line job skills.

DCM’s business model has us going into a new city or region and playing rain maker by connecting-the-dots of existing government, business, creative and community agencies, organizations and efforts.  Existing educational programs are extended with intermediate and advanced training curriculum and pedagogy. Local events are live webcast and tickets are sold on-line.

Participation and support of local entrepreneurial activities is enhanced with match making and mentoring.  Community engagement and on-line conversations are both sponsored and undertaken by our local community efforts, but we’ll also enable OTHER groups, platforms or agencies – and support THEIR platforms and services – as well.

A free and open marketplace will enable, entrepreneurial efforts to flourish.  Pervasive software infrastructure will enable new kinds of on-line applications and services.

DCM will help develop the infrastructure, community (both on-line and in the real-world) and train and mentor an on-line workforce to utilize Internet bandwidth to connects locals- via the Internet – to the global marketplace.

Engagement with the local population breeds authentic relationships, which can then be offered to global brands – via laser beam targeting.  But it all starts with connecting the dots, working together and agreeing to open standards and an open platform to build on top of.

Date: Monday, April 2nd, 2012 | Time: 7:29 pm
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