BUCKHANNON – Students and parents who need technology assistance now have somewhere to turn – for free – thanks to a collaboration between the Stockert Youth and Community Center and Fred W. Eberle Technical Center.
Fred Eberle student Hunter Burkhammer offers computer help three days a week to children, staff and families at the Help Desk at SYCC.
The position was created by the Upshur County Youth & Community Coalition due to the increased technological challenges students and their families face during the pandemic, especially with remote learning playing a larger role in their everyday lives.
“Hunter was the first student that I thought of when this position was brought up to me,” said Chad McKisic, instructor of the Computer Systems Repair Technology and Robotics programs at FETC.
Hunter’s responsibilities at SYCC include mentoring children, maintaining computers and offering homework help for students with state-issued devices (such as laptops and iPads), as well as aiding parents and guardians with their devices. Hunter is available to children and their families at the Help Desk on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
Hunter is a student of both the Computer Systems Repair Technology and Robotics programs at FETC. In the classroom, Hunter and his classmates study computers and mobile devices, networking, customer relations and professionalism – all important features of the Information Technology field. As a part of their simulated workplace format, the Computer Systems Repair Technology program offers students the ability to perform industry-related tasks around the FETC campus.
“The campus here at Fred Eberle is our enterprise,” McKisic said. “Our classes handle networking upgrades, WiFi servicing, laptop maintenance” and similar tasks.
While working in the IT field at SYCC, Hunter has learned it is best to be prepared for any situation, as no two days look the same.
“IT is the best field because you could never learn everything,” McKisic said. “An IT person could be 300 feet high on a tower or in a ditch running cables. You can basically do anything you want to do with a background in IT.”
In preparation for a career in the industry, McKisic suggests that both current students and graduates of this program set up a “home lab” to simulate IT issues and troubleshoot them. Hunter is able to turn those simulations into real-life, hands-on experiences at SYCC.
Hunter is also the first student in the history of the program to receive the CompTIA A+ Certification, which is equivalent to one year of experience in the field through coursework involving the maintaining and updating of computer systems, device troubleshooting and modifying systems, among many other tasks.
After graduation from FETC, Hunter plans to attend college for a degree in computer science.
Keep up-to-date on the exciting things happening at Stockert Youth and Community Center through their Facebook page or call 304-473-0145. Check out the Fred W. Eberle Technical Center website to learn more about the Computer Systems Repair Technology program and other career training opportunities offered there!