News

Roving Computer Labs – A Tool to Support Businesses and Organizations

In November 2014 the New River/Mount Rogers Workforce Development Board (WDB) was awarded a $50,000 State Incentive Grant (funded through Workforce Investment Act Funds overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration), to support a Roving Computer Lab concept.  The funds were used to purchase equipment, software and develop partnerships and procedures to support and the project.   For the last 19 months, the WDB has partnered with a variety of businesses and organizations to utilize this resource throughout the region.

By working with industry and employment support organizations, the WDB can support job seekers, as well as current employees, in acquiring the necessary digital skills that will open up career opportunities and create a stable and thriving work-force in our region.

The Roving Computer Lab (RCL) is a partnership tool designed to:

  • Build a sustainable rotation of partner users of the mobile lab resource
  • Provide multiple locations for lab access by populations seeking employment and training supports
  • Engage job seekers with special challenges and barriers to employment with customized supports
  • Build new partnerships with organizations and businesses seeking training and employment supports for current and future clients and employees

What Is the Roving Computer Lab?

Actually there are eight labs:  six (6) laptop computer labs containing sets of five (5) or three (3) laptop computers; and two (2) tablet labs – one with seven (7) iPads and one with six (6) Acers.  Each lab is internet ready with the full suite of Microsoft Office installed. They include all necessary power cords, printer connections and a wireless mouse per laptop along with a traveling case for easy storage and mobility.

Available accessories to accompany the labs include a portable printer, micro projectors, accessibility devices, lightening and HDMI cables, wireless router to connect all laptops and/or tablets to available internet and jump drives for saving data from the labs after use. Training and technical support for use with the labs is available through our staff and partners. We are happy to add software and direct links to websites for partners and particular programming uses to support client self-sufficiency.  Assistive technology and employment supports for people with disabilities with certified Ticket to Work staff and resources are also available.

Checking Out the RCL

The Roving Computer Labs (RCL) are free to use by businesses and organizations in their offices or in a community space. Check out procedures are simple and flexible.

We provide the technical support for the equipment and will keep software and hardware up to date and serviced. Labs may also be loaded with specialized training or assessment software for targeted employer and organizational needs.

We will provide training on use of the labs and can support businesses and partners in outreach and employment supports for job seekers and employees.

This resource has been used by businesses, nonprofit, community and governmental agencies for job fairs, orientations, and new and current staff trainings.

In the last 19 months 115 businesses and over 1,000 individuals have been reached with this regional resource.  The “funding” of the project ended April 30, 2016, but this resource is still available to businesses and partner organizations.

For more information contact Marty Holliday – marty.holliday@nrmrwib.org or 540-633-6764.