31 December 2008 International excellence award for ORTs GET-IT programme The excellence with which ORT has implemented Hewlett-Packards GET-IT concept into its training programmes in the Former Soviet Union has won it a $10,000 prize at the HP GET-IT (Graduate Entrepreneurship Training through IT) Annual Conference in Brussels. The prize winners were chosen by a poll of the GET-IT partners from 25 countries who were attending the conference, increasing the significance of the award. The GET-IT programme focuses on the need to encourage job creation and entrepreneurship among people below the age of 25. Its training courses deal with practical IT solutions for daily business challenges faced in areas such as finance, human resources, marketing, communications and technology management. This is fantastic recognition from completely independent people, said Dr Sergey Gorinskiy, Deputy Director of the World ORT Representative Office for the CIS and Baltic States. That we were placed second to a Belgian agency specialising in entrepreneurship training serves to highlight just how impressive our community-based model is. Its wonderful that Hewlett-Packard and its partners around the world appreciate that our approach is very good. This is a great success which shows that we can be competitive with specialists in business education. Dr Gorinskiy presented ORTs prize-winning project Breaking the Digital Divide: Business and IT skills for Underserved Population Groups at the conference. Of the several population groups which face particular problems in the Russian economy today, two became the target groups for our project: deaf and hard-of-hearing students and women, specifically in the technological sphere, he said. The project mission is to create new opportunities in the modern, knowledge-based economy for our trainees not all of whom are deaf or women by providing them with the skills necessary to pursue a career in IT-based business. As HPs principal partner in the implementation of social investment programmes in the Former Soviet Union, ORT currently manages six GET-IT centres in Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Tambov, Volgograd and Tula, and the recently opened St Petersburg centre. In addition, ORT manages Digital Community Centres in Slavutych and Tula, and Microenterprise Acceleration Programme (MAP) centres in Ekaterinburg and Samara. Dr Gorinskiy presenting at the GET-IT Annual Conference in Brussels In addition to develop specialised techniques for students belonging to the target population groups, Breaking the Digital Divide also aims to integrate GET-IT approaches to existing training programmes to help unemployed people and graduates acquire the business and IT skills they need to launch a career or their own business. ORT also plans to share the expertise accumulated over three years of the project with Russian schools and colleges so that they can modify their curricula as and how is necessary. Professor Nikolay Malofeev, a member of the elite Russian Academy of Education, testifies to the merit of the programme as implemented at the Moscow ORT Technology College which has benefited students at the citys boarding school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. The programme is of vital importance, Professor Malofeev said. Traditionally, people with hearing difficulties succeed in trades related to photography. So the choice of specialities proposed by ORT Technology College including web design, photography and desktop publishing seems very reasonable. Students at the boarding school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, who are among the more than 700 people to have benefited from Breaking the Digital Divide since its launch in 2007, have expressed their appreciation of ORTs help in a joint statement. Many of us had basic computer skills through having a PC at home, they said. But now weve got completely new skills and knowledge which takes us beyond using the computer as merely a form of entertainment. Now we study programmes that will be useful for our future jobs such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop and Corel DRAW. We have also become more skilled in programmes that are used for video and audio processing. It is not only in Moscow that the ORT-HP partnership is helping deaf and hard-of-hearing young people. The ORT GET-IT centre in Tula is based at the towns boarding school for deaf children. This month, the schools students have been delighted by a special gift from ORT of a video camera, tripod and accessories that they can use to further their study of modern video technology and so widen their choice of future career avenues. The equipment was funded by ORTs decision not to buy the corporate gifts that are routinely given in Russia at the end of the year. Instead we sent our supporters, partners and contacts a letter telling them that they had helped us by funding this very special initiative to support young deaf people, Dr Gorinskiy said. As a charity, we decided it was ethically appropriate for us to resist the social pressure for corporate gifts and direct the money to where it is needed. Also this month, HP awarded a grant to the ORT Mishpateinu secondary school in Kazan as part of its K-12 Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Technology project. The money has been used to create a mobile multimedia computer laboratory comprising 10 laptops, software and associated equipment. The award was not given because it is an ORT school, said Dr Gorinskiy. But because of our close relationship with HP they know the equipment will be used well. That relationship is one that the worlds largest technology company with a projected income next year of more than $125 billion wants to expand. Hewlett-Packard has suggested opening 10 new centres under the ORT umbrella, said Dr Gorinskiy. We are looking into the feasibility of such a massive expansion with tremendous enthusiasm. It is, of course, a great vote of confidence in ORT that this major international company wants to continue to build its partnership with us to the benefit of citizens and economies of countries in the region.