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ReUse CenterFinger Lakes ReUse (FLR) is offering a new job-training program called ReSET (Skills and Employment Training). ReSET provides training in marketable job-skills to individuals seeking new career opportunities.  ReSET offers two tracks: ReSET Tech--skills in computer technology, and ReSET Construction--skills in construction and green building. The trainings will involve a hands-on learning environment through exposure and participation in day-to-day business activities in FLR’s eCenter or Deconstruction Services programs.

Participants in the ReSET Tech track will learn the internal components of a computer, their purposes and how they function. They will also test, troubleshoot computers and their components, and refurbish computers for reuse.

Through the ReSET Construction track, trainees will gain knowledge in construction techniques through safe and efficient harvesting of building materials (doors, cabinetry, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, electrical systems and structural elements). Trainees will also learn safe work site practices, including handling hazardous materials and protective equipment, as well as tool purposes, usage and maintenance.

“I am so excited to see ReSET Tech up and running,” Diane Cohen, Executive Director of Finger Lakes ReUse, said. “It was a long planning process and is the culmination of everything we've been learning about the potential to educate and empower through reuse. It is great to see [our trainees] totally absorbed and engaged in an educational process, while simultaneously providing us with extra hands to process all the materials to help meet our growing supply and demand of refurbished computer equipment.”

The ReSET technology track was launched in March. eCenter Program Coordinator Michael Troutman and Instructor Marty Schreiber (Computer All Stars Program Manager) are currently teaching the participants computer basics, said Anise Hotchkiss, Community Programs Coordinator.

“Thus far trainees are learning the basics of how a computer works,” she said. “We are teaching the process of computer disassembly; the purpose and function of every computer component; how to test each component to determine it's reusability; how to navigate different operating systems; how to assess whether or not a computer refurbishable; and how to upgrade a computer to be refurbished.”

The program is being instructed with an emphasis on being environmentally friendly, said Troutman. “In the first two weeks we've covered general issues, like why it's important to handle electronic waste properly and why reuse can be a more effective use of resources than even recycling,” he said.

Don McArthur said he is participating in the job-training program because he wants to learn how to fix his own computers.

“I want to repair my own laptops and desktop without paying the high price of someone doing it for me,” McArthur said.

Doug Miller, who took computer classes in the 80s, said that he’s looking forward to learning about hardware and specific functions.

“Just getting to learn what parts of the computer does what, because I was never taught that [in college],” he said. “Now I’m actually looking at the hardware and how it works.”

“The teachers are very patient,” said trainee Melissa Jackson. “They’re working with us at all different levels. I didn’t know anything before I came in, and they’ve been really helpful.”

Upon completion of the 10-week, entry-level program, participants will have an opportunity to competitively apply for a 15-week, full-time apprenticeship training that includes a stipend and will lead to a guaranteed interview for a position in a related field.

“It's been great to have so many businesses express interest and support by helping to train our participants and offer interviews to those who complete the session,” Cohen said. “We are still actively looking for more volunteer educators to teach one-hour sessions in any variety of real world tech skills and talk about the skills they are utilizing in their own day-to-day work experiences. Also, with the help of the trainees, we have been able to begin to catch up with the volumes of electronics donations we are receiving, so it would be great for the community to know that we are happy to receive donations of used computers and peripheral equipment to support this program.”

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