Extension service, library offer tech program

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Mississippi State University Extension Service in Lincoln County and the Lincoln County Public Library recently formed a partnership to launch the Master Technology Innovator Program. This program places volunteers in local community anchor institutions, such as the local library, to help with technology needs, education and awareness. 

Volunteers will help people with activities like learning computer and Internet basics, opening email accounts, helping with resumes and applying for jobs online, explaining social media privacy and security settings and learning to use specific technologies like mobile devices or e-readers. Volunteers will work closely with an extension agent to provide educational presentations centered on technology use.

“MTI was created as a response to needs public libraries and other community anchor institutions had expressed while partnering with extension in technology-related projects,” said Roberto Gallardo, associate extension professor and MTI program developer.

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“This is the classical example of a win-win partnership: Extension fulfills its mission of extending knowledge, changing lives; local residents acquire new skills and an outlet to use those skills; and community anchor institutions better serve their clientele,” he said. “In the end, the community wins.”

Ashley Tucker, extension agent for Community Resource Development, is project manager for MTI Lincoln County.

“This is a great opportunity for high school and college students who need community service hours. This is also a great opportunity for anyone looking to add additional skills and credentials to their résumé,” Tucker said. “Retirees are also welcome to volunteer.”

Tucker is working to obtain volunteers. She has reached out to the local high schools and Copiah-Lincoln Community College to promote MTI.

“We are working to start the program by June 1, and plan to continue throughout the year as long as volunteers are active,” she said. “We have one volunteer signed up, and I’ve spoken to several people who are interested in the program. With classes ending this month, I’m hopeful that local high school and college students will volunteer while at home for the summer.”

Henry Ledet, director of the Lincoln Lawrence Franklin Regional Library, is working closely with Tucker to roll out the program.

“We are excited about the possibilities of MTI,” Ledet said. “Summer is our busiest season, so we could use the extra support of volunteers. We are glad to partner with the extension to address the needs of our clientele.”

For more information or to sign-up for this program, please contact the Lincoln County Extension Service at (601) 835-3460 or email a.tucker@msstate.edu.

Volunteers must be at least 17 years of age. Parental consent is required for volunteers under the age of 18.