Can a laptop save a life? It certainly can help rebuild one.
For trainees at Ready, Willing & Able, a transitional training program for newly released felons and homeless men in New York, Infor's recent gift of 78 computers is a tangible boost back to a productive life.
"This gift will open the door to new opportunities for our trainees, both educational and professional, that we could not have unlocked on our own," said Alexander Horwitz, chief of staff of The Doe Fund, which operates Ready, Willing & Able. "The men in our program know that one of the keys to gainful employment and a stable future for themselves and their families is the ability to work at a computer. Prior to Infor's gift, the age of our equipment prevented us from introducing them to cutting-edge business software and the careers that revolve around it. Thanks to Infor, that's no longer the case."
This computers donation is a first for Infor.
"We have a computer recycling program that we use to safely retire old machines. In July, our VP of IT, Neil Pennell, spoke to me about repurposing our old computers so we could invest more in our local communities," explained Ron Rubanowice, Infor IT support manager. "So, we started exploring the idea, and then Neil told me about The Doe Fund and their urgent need for 70 laptops for the Ready, Willing & Able program.
"We had a couple hundred computers we were getting ready to recycle," Rubanowice added. "Several of our US-based offices worked together to find laptops that we could verify were in good useable condition. We tested, cleaned, and removed the hard drives. We then purchased brand new solid state drives (SSDs) and donated those as well. SSDs were selected so that we could help ensure The Doe Fund would be able to get maximum use and longevity out of the devices. In the end, we provided them with even more laptops than they needed."
The Doe Fund serves 670 men at a time across three residential facilities in Harlem and Brooklyn. Since 1990, more than 6,000 men have graduated from the yearlong program and successfully transitioned back to mainstream society after long periods of incarceration and homelessness, according to The Doe Fund website. The program focuses on providing paid transitional work combined with transitional housing, education, career development and training, and personalized case management and social services. After 9 to 12 months, participants graduate with the work and life skills needed to achieve permanent self-sufficiency, support their families, and serve their communities.
"The Doe Fund request to Infor came through an introduction from our CEO, Charles Phillips," Pennell said. "Our gift to them was the pilot, and we learned a lot. Now we are looking at ways to further streamline our new donation process so we can quickly identify laptops that are ready to be retired but still have plenty of usable life in them."
"The Doe Fund was an absolute pleasure to work with," Rubanowice said. "We are all so very excited that they are going to be able to put the machines to good use."
Photo caption: Trainees in The Doe Fund's Ready, Willing & Able program participate in computer training courses to prepare for employment.