Plugged In – Took Kit

Over the years, Plugged In has received a lot of attention nationwide for our efforts to ensure that people in East Palo Alto have the opportunity to fully benefit from all that the information revolution has to offer. Although we are a local initiative, many people have approached us for technical assistance in starting computing programs in their communities. Here are some resources that may be useful to you if you’re trying to build a community technology access program.

A great collection of resources has been developed by the Community Technology Centers Network (CTCNet), a national network of more than 200 community technology centers. CTCNet provides a broad range of support materials to its members, including a comprehensive Center Start-Up Manual. The manual provides a systematic approach to starting a community computer center. Plugged In is proud to be a CTCNet member.

Across the country, there are more than 400 community technology centers based in affordable housing developments, as part of Neighborhood Networks, an initiative by the Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD). Neighborhood Networks has developed a set of resources that are available on the Neighborhood Networks web site.

Although we have very little capacity to respond to the requests we receive for technical assistance and training from people around the country, we are able to provide tours of our center one day a week. We are also happy to offer internship opportunities. If you are interested in a tour of our facilities, please send e-mail to

YPP trains teenagers in the latest Web design and video production. The teenagers then use their skills to operate a production house that creates Web sites and video products for community members and paying commercial clients. Clients include Pacific Bell, Sun Microsystems,, the Mid-Peninsula Girls Club.

YPP is a technology training and entrepreneurial development program for teenagers that concentrates its activities on the following areas:

Technical Skills
The technical training focuses on computer basics, introduction to graphic design using Macromedia Studio, HTML scripting, and Cascading Style Sheets. In the training, participants benefit from the expertise and experience of a wide range of Silicon Valley professionals. Volunteers from Wired, Intel Corporation, Crystal Dynamics, Stanford University School of Education, Cisco Systems, Macromedia, and Sun Microsystems have shared their talents with East Palo Alto teens.

Employment Experience
The employment experience is one of working in a real business environment. The teens operate a production business and develop Web sites and video products for paying clients earning money for their work. They are evaluated by their supervisors, critiqued by their clients, and to keep abreast of new developments in the field. Their hourly pay is dependent on skill level and ability to transfer skills to peers on the production team, as well as to other teens in the community. To review a portfolio of the work the teenagers have accomplished

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