(NewsUSA) - Between MP3 players, cell phones and social networking sites, today's teen is more connected than ever. The Pew Institute estimates that 93 percent of teens use the Internet and 39 percent of online teens share photos, stories and videos.
Teens are surrounded by electronics and digital media, but are they gaining career-applicable computer skills?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for computer-related occupations has increased due to rapid advances in technology and the development of new computer applications. While schools provide some technology training, teens often protest that computer time and creativity are heavily restricted.
"Technology has truly changed the way our children learn and play," said Roxanne Spillett, president and CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). "To survive in today's job market, technology skills are key and almost always expected."
BGCA has a long history of providing educational and developmental programs for youth. Technology education has become an integral part of the organization, with 92 percent of Clubs providing technology resources to its members.
Through a partnership with Microsoft and Best Buy Children's Foundation, their Club Tech program helps to level the virtual playing field by providing free software and tutorials on developing tech skills. Club Tech lessons are also available to the public and educators for free on their teen-oriented Web site, www.myclubmylife.com.
Christian Agron, 14, has participated in Club Tech for six years. He always believed the technology skills he was acquiring would help him get into college and pursue a career with computers.
In need of a new Web site, the Holyoke Housing Authority contacted Agron after learning of his participation in the BGCA's digital arts program. The job not only gave Agron an opportunity to apply his tech talents, it provided him with a resume-worthy experience.
According to a recent study, teens like Agron who participate in after-school technology programs exhibit increased skills and success. Many also become more positive about finishing high school, attending college and feeling better prepared for work.
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