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Teens learn, earn systems

In addition to their partnership with the city of Schenectady school district and the Elfun society, SICM gets a considerable amount of help from Schenectady County's Job Training Agency, which provides the teens who participate in the program.

Students are selected by the JTA from kids who choose the computer program as an activity of the Youth Employment Program.

The county pays the kids a stipend that is at or above minimum wage, so the course is sort of like a job, Lent said, adding that the kids spend one of their days at SCCC learning about rEsumE, job-hunting and interview skills.

A donation from the Troy Savings Bank Foundation helps the ministry fund the $15,000 program, which is in its second year.

Charles Steinmetz was a brilliant mathematician hired by the newly formed General Electric Company in 1893.

Two years later, Steinmetz made a breakthrough in the theory of alternating current, which powers most electrical circuits, including microcomputers. His patent for AC power was one of more than 200 that he was granted before his death.

An anecdotal story shows that Steinmetz knew the value of a good education.

He was reportedly asked to troubleshoot a complex system of his design that confounded the best efforts of GE engineers.

When Steinmetz determined what the problem was, he marked the faulty component with a piece of chalk. When asked to justify the $10,000 invoice he submitted for his services, Steinmetz reportedly responded that he only charged $1 for marking the part with chalk; the other $9,999 was for knowing where to put the mark.

Programs such as Computers for Kids give kids a metaphorical piece of chalk which, hopefully, will help them leave their own mark someday.

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