Grassroots bootcamp/Application/Jonathan Austin


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  1. Johnathan F. Austin
  2. Email: (private)
  3. Tell us about the OLPC-relevant accomplishment you are most proud of. This does not have to explicitly be an OLPC-related activity, but should be something that would be valuable for other participants at the bootcamp to hear about and learn from. I have spent several years in the non-profit "world" and have extensive experience in community and economic development using technology in and around the city of Birmingham Alabama. Being in the non-profit industry has given me the unique opportunity to work with government; both local and national, the public school system, and various other non-profit organizations, and public and private corporations to impact the community with positive change. The accomplishment that I am most proud of would be the development, in partnership with the Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program (TOP), STARS TECHgether. Thru this multi-year grant, we deployed a total of 6 computer labs in various under-serverd communities in and around the city of Birmingham. These labs were designed with state of the art computers and software which we hoped would bridge the digital gap that exists within our own society. We were able to effectively reach over 10,000 individuals and families through effective community outreach efforts. The STARS TECHgether computer skills training program has been very effective in improving computer competence. The acquisition of these skills translates into greater levels of employability in an increasingly highly technical job market.
  4. If your answer to the above was not an OLPC-related activity, list a few OLPC-related activities you have been involved with. I have not been involved with any OPLC-related activities thus far, but I am certainly looking forward to it.
  5. Why do you want to come to the bootcamp? Being a native of Birmingham and so actively involved in it's community, I have been invited to participate in a pilot project in which we will conducting training with teachers and other using the XO laptops.
  6. What can you contribute to the bootcamp? I will definitely be able to contribute my years of experience in community transformation to help start grassroots efforts/initiatives to support the broader OLPC mission.
  7. How will you support grassroots initiatives after the bootcamp? (A short proposal would be good here.) I will support grassroots initiatives after bootcamp by working with local public and private organizations to develop programs and services which would benefit the end user.
  8. (Optional) Will you need aid (housing, food, transportation, etc.) to attend? My needs have been addressed.
  9. Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? As I mentioned earlier, I have spent the past 11 years in the non-profit "world" in a number of capacities with the most recent being the ED for the last 3 years before leaving the company to start my own consulting firm to better address the specific needs of technology and education in not only the classroom but also with a focus in undeserved communities which would include the Black Belt. Fitz specializes in developing relationships with both the public and private sector businesses to link them with technology and the underserved communities. I have extensive contacts with local community groups, a member of the Childcare Resources Junior Board, work with many different mentoring and job placement programs with the local WIA and others, and numerous other contacts and resources thru-ought Alabama and the southeast.
  10. Post or link to your answers to the prerequisite exercises.
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