Generation Tech Support Bridging Age Divides and Providing Real-World Experience
Phoenix, AZ | Submitted by Debbie Kovesdy
Cybersecurity, coding and other tech-based careers are some of the most in-demand jobs in today’s economy. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
After realizing that very bright, tech-savvy youth were spending spare time working in part-time retail and fast food jobs that had little to do with their skills, former educator Debbie Kovesdy created Generation Tech Support. It’s a student-centric service with a mission to empower technology students and provide opportunities to advance careers, income, leadership and business skills.
With a grant from the Cisco Foundation, high school students planned for and opened a storefront where they provide troubleshooting, education and other tech-centric services. With guidance from adults, these youth help with everything from finding the location and negotiating the lease to creating marketing materials and setting up payroll.
The walk-in center now employs 24 youth from all over the north valley, all of whom are part owners and active participants in the company. The store also features an “Innovation Center” area to invent, corroborate and experience cutting edge tech, as well as regular workshops and tech events for all ages.
So far, the store is seeing great results – with regular repeat customers. Guests are learning how best to use their devices and students are getting invaluable work experience. It’s even changing attitudes toward youth workers, as these students prove themselves to be knowledgeable and hard working.
Beyond the storefront in north Phoenix, Generation Tech Support is also reaching out to younger children to get them excited about working in technology-based fields. Eight schools are benefiting from after-school tech programming, with topics ranging from Python coding to robotics. With a focus on low income area schools that may not have access to other resources, the initiative has reached 160 students in the last semester alone.
Both aspects of Generation Tech Support are supporting goals in the Arizona Education Progress Meter, which aims to improve everything from third grade reading skills to high school graduation and postsecondary attainment. By supporting students who want to work in tech and understand how to run a business, it’s truly setting these youth up for future.