AAHS students get valuable work experience manning tech help desk | News, Sports, Jobs

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Courtesy photo /
Brandon Auker works on a Chromebook computer at the Altoona Area Junior High help desk.

Altoona Area High School seniors are able to gain valuable experience and on-the-job training through the district’s school-to-career and community service programs.

According to Bryce Cossitor, the district’s technology director, students in both programs work at help desks in the junior high and high school libraries to assist with minor Chromebook issues, under the guidance of technology department staff.

The difference between the two programs, Cossitor said, is two students in the school-to-career program are paid employees of the district while “a number of” students in the community service program earn curriculum credits for doing community service work throughout the entire district, not just in the technology department.

“The idea is kind of a win-win,” he said. “It helps us to be able to support the students with a lot of the day-to-day problems that they encounter, and it gives the students who are assisting them the experience they can use on a resume or a college application.”

The experience is particularly valuable to those who are interested in moving forward with a degree or full-time career in the field of technology, he said.

Josiah Treece is one of the two students in the school-to-career program.

Treece is still undecided about his post-high school plans. However, he said he’s heavily considering a future in technology and enjoys helping others.

“I just enjoy working with the kids and the computers,” he said. “Especially the ones who don’t really know what they’re doing with them. It’s kind of nice to show them different ways to fix their issues.”

Sometimes, Treece replaces keys on a student’s Chromebook when they can’t get them to work properly.

“We’ll help them by fixing that,” he said. “Some of them don’t keep (the devices) up to date very well, so we always have to update them.”

Other issues they fix include wireless connection, touchscreen and battery problems.

Anita Allmond, a tech support supervisor who mentors the students working at the help desks in both buildings, said they also get valuable knowledge of troubleshooting different technical issues, such as firewall protection, and repairing the Chromebook devices.

“They get a lot of hands-on experience, which if they decide to pursue a career in the field of technology, especially when it comes to repairs and things like that, this is going to give them a lot of valuable knowledge to carry over,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to give them different skills.”

Cossitor said the student help desks were initially discussed a few years ago, but the technology department had limited success in developing them at the time.

“As time moved on, we became invested in (the idea) with every student carrying devices,” he said, adding that there’s hope to expand the programs in the future to include junior students.

“There’s been discussion of developing something for 11th grade students to go through a training program before they become part of the workforce for us as help desk assistants,” Cossitor said. “But that’s yet to be discussed and ironed out.”

Mirror Staff Writer Matt Churella is at 814-946-7520.



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