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Local non-profit arms residents with basic computer skills

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By Tracy Harris

An Oldham County group is working to not only provide technology education, but provide a networking resource for technology-minded people.

Oldham County Technology Advancement Network Enterprise — known as OCTANE — started about eight years ago as an offshoot of Oldham Chamber and Economic Development, said founder Beach Craigmyle.

It was a special-interest group within the chamber, with Oldham County Online owner Lambert Franklin an early supporter.

OCTANE became a non-profit separate from the chamber, focused on driving economic development by promoting technology.

The group members organize one or two courses a year teaching technology skills, including one starting next week.

The Introduction to Computers and Internet Issues course is five classes long, and provides “under-the-hood, hands-on” skills, Craigmyle said.

It’s not a basic computer class, he said, but one for people who want more advanced skills.

Anyone interested in being their company’s computer guru could benefit, he said — so can teenagers who want to repair computers and setup networks.

For teens, its a useful skillset that could be a part-time job or a future college major.

Craigmyle said the classes can fill in the gaps of what people have learned over the years.

The course will cover a different topic each week: computer hardware and repair, networks and wiring, internet connections, security and safe computing and servers and user controls.

“It’s what you need to know and ought to know,” Craigmyle said.

Attendees will also learn about legal issues concerning computers. 

While the act of pirating music and movies is often in the news, pirating software can be an issue in corporate environments.

As a non-profit, OCTANE only charges for the textbook and toolkit. The course begins Feb. 2 and is $75 for all five sessions.

The group also hosts monthly networking meetings for those interested in technology.

February’s guest speaker will be Mike Glover, designer of the Light Up La Grange light show. Glover will speak about the programing and equipment used to create the show.

Meetings take place at 8:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at La Venture Station in La Grange. All are welcome.