Polo Custom Products has always tried to give back to its communities. For 75 years, we have participated in community events and supported our communities through various sponsorships and charitable giving. To that end, our Ackerman and Louisville facilities in Mississippi recently donated 20 laptops – 10 for the Choctaw County Library and 10 for the Winston County Library. In the upcoming months, Polo personnel will work with the libraries and help area adults gain computer skills that will make them more viable hires in their employment pursuits.
Shantel Stevens, our training administrator in Louisville, MS, said, “Four months ago, we had no idea that we would be donating laptops to anyone. In fact, we hadn’t even identified that there was a need in our community for resources to teach computer skills to adults. It is amazing how simple conversations with people who care about other people can turn into something wonderful for everyone involved.”
Identifying a Need in the Community
Four months ago, the Polo Custom Products IT department travelled to Louisville to deliver tablets for use on the production floor. At that same time many adults seeking work at Polo were failing the entry test. The team of Jason Ryan, Rob Ward, and Brooke Greene inquired as to whether the team had any ideas on the root cause of the problem.
“Our explanation was that the education standards in Mississippi years ago were not quite what they are today, so many adults over the age of 35 may not have had much access to computers in high school. If they are over 45, it is very possible many of the adults taking this test on a computer may have never used a computer before and it’s even more likely they have never owned one.” Shantel had to say. “So, what seems like a simple test to millennials and gen z is a very stressful and alien experience for many more experienced members of our community. The very generations with the most experience and practical knowledge of manufacturing are the same people we are too often unable to hire because of the obstacles they face from less access to computers.”
Brooke immediately got together with Jason and Rob to identify a way to combat this obstacle. One way was to provide the community with laptops and computer lessons. Jason offered to reach out to his brother who owns a business that refurbishes laptop computers to see if he would be willing to make a donation. His brother was excited to be a part of this project.
Putting the Plan in Place
Our Polo IT Team (Brooke, Jason, and Rob) met with Beth Edwards, a librarian at the Winston County Library, and Michael David, an IT employee of the Mid-Mississippi Regional Library System. They also met with Cristen Chandler, the librarian at the Choctaw County Library in Ackerman, who guided our IT team in understanding the needs of the library.
Committed to helping the community, our IT Team utilized a donation from the Polo Contributions Committee to also provide licenses needed to run Microsoft office and Microsoft Windows software on the 20 new laptops.
Polo Custom Products wants to help members of the community learn the skills they may need to secure jobs that may have been out of reach prior to getting familiar with a computer. Polo is set to begin offering computer classes to adults using these donated laptops 2 Fridays each month at the libraries in Louisville and Ackerman. Classes will be free and open to anyone with a desire to learn.
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