By MARANDA WILSON, MSCJ – REGIONAL ASSISTANT DIRECTOR & MIRANDA ROBERSON, BSCJ – TECH GOES HOME INSTRUCTOR
During time spent incarcerated, people often lose touch with the evolution of technology. Tech Goes Home has partnered with The Next Door to help women get reacquainted with technology prior to their release.
What is The Next Door?
The Next Door is a non-profit that, in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Correction, serves women who are currently incarcerated, but have less than two years until their release. While at our facility, the women are engaged in programming to assist with their productive reentry into society. They are also able to obtain employment while in our program.
Why did The Next Door Partner with Tech Goes Home?
Our goal at The Next Door is to prepare our clients to be successful and reduce their chance of returning to incarceration. Women in the program have been incarcerated for two to 20 years, which means they have been out of touch with the evolution of technology for as many years. The Tech Goes Home classes are composed of 15 hours of coursework broken up into two 90-minute classes each week. Our intentions are not to have the women master the use of a computer, but rather familiarize themselves enough with the Google applications to be able to create their resume, apply for jobs, safely navigate the internet, and utilize email.
What are some ways that Tech Goes Home has impacted women’s lives?
Participating in the Tech Goes Home classes could be the first time in several years, or ever, that a woman has had access to a computer. Many of our women are learning the basic skills, such as the use of the mouse or touchpad, for the very first time. Being able to see the transformation that takes place between the initial class and presentation day is amazing. The women feel confident and prepared to conquer the world of technology. Once the class wraps up, clients continue to utilize their Chromebooks for job searching and house hunting. Once released from our program, the women take their Chromebooks home and are able to share their new computer knowledge with their families.