Keystone Community Services’ Best Buy Teen Tech Center is now open. Located at 1150 Selby Avenue in St. Paul, the center is part of a growing network of Best Buy-supported after-school programs offering free, hands-on tech activities to local youth. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center is a member of the Clubhouse Network, a collaboration with the MIT Media Lab. These specially designed spaces enable teens to learn and explore technology in a variety of creative ways, including robotics, programming, coding, graphic design, 3D printing, filmmaking and music production. The goal is to help young people, ages 14 to 18, gain the technology skills and confidence to succeed in school, identify things they are passionate about and prepare for future careers.
As the need for workers with tech experience grows, so has awareness that we need more young people who have the right skills to take on those careers. To help, Best Buy began opening Teen Tech Centers in 2012. Since then, more than 60 additional sites have been launched around the country, including Keystone Community Services’ new Best Buy Teen Tech Center in St. Paul.
Having the opportunity to practice skills and develop passions, will help teens prepare for employment in our increasingly technology driven world. Keystone’s Youth Express program is designed to help young people develop skills to confidently compete in the world of work and the new Best Buy Teen Tech Center will extend that mission in new ways.
“In all of our youth programs, we work to help young people be on the pathway to success,” says Keystone President Mary McKeown. “Young people have incredible potential and having access to programs like Keystone’s Best Buy Teen Tech Center help them unleash that potential in really unique ways.”
Keystone’s Best Buy Teen Tech Coordinator Ted Tiffany, who has experience working with teens and technology, is looking forward to seeing how the young people grow and develop.
“It’s really cool to see teens learning and working together,” Ted says. “This kind of free-form environment gives them a chance to really build each other up and explore new things.”
The program is especially working to close the gap of opportunities for women and minorities in technology related career paths.
“Women and people of color are really underrepresented in tech fields like IT and programming,” says Ted Tiffany, the Center’s coordinator. “We’d like to help correct that problem by providing a safe, fun environment and access to equipment they might not otherwise have a chance to try out.”
Keystone’s Best Buy Teen Tech Center is open for youth ages 14-18 Monday – Friday from 2:00 – 7:00 p.m. Lean more here.