Normally my day job has me sitting at my desk, helping organizations and small businesses with their online visibility, but thanks to my good friend Ian Winbrock and everyone at Mayor Cabaldon’s office and the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce I had the pleasure of teaching students at West Sacramento Early College Prep School (WSECP) a bit about working as web professional.
The Future Ready program, implemented by a non-profit started by Mayor Cabaldon of West Sacramento, is an effort to teach skills to teens in a way that’s fun and engaging and prepares them for the future in whatever route they take.
In 3 sessions, the students got a background in content-writing, search engine optimization, web analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, AdWords, and picked up some online visibility skills.
Probably the coolest thing was today where they all got a chance to put their skills into practice and build their own website in WordPress on a local host (props to the team at ServerPress for creating an awesome program for people to practice WordPress design and development!).
I was thoroughly impressed by the students in the class…first of all they stayed after school for 3 sessions at 3 hours apiece, including the last day of school. Secondly, it’s amazing how quickly a group of 16-18 year olds pick this stuff up.
I generally offer 5-10 hours of training for clients to help them manage their WordPress sites after I finish building it for them, but the students were off deploying their local WordPress environment, creating widget areas, and customizing themes before I could even explain how to do anything.
It felt really good to give back to the youth and to see the students excitement and motivation in completing the course. Some of the students are now going to be getting a paid internship to build a website for a farmers market in the area using what they learned in the real world.