On Friday, November 8, CLUES and Best Buy celebrated the grand opening of the country’s newest Best Buy Teen Tech Center, located at CLUES’ Saint Paul Headquarters. Over 100 members of the community came together to inaugurate this new space where youth will be able to grow and expand their skills as they explore the intersections of art and technology and prepare for future career pathways that integrate these fields.
US Senator Tina Smith was present to share with us in this great moment. “You can tell a lot about a community by the building that it has to support the members of the community. And when I look around this space which is so full of energy, light, power, and know-how – This building is the perfect place for everything I see here," Senator Smith said. "To the young people that are in the audience today; this building respects you as it should. There is so much that we are going to need from you, so much that we are going to call on you to do. You are an amazing and rich asset for all of us in this community. You are going to be able to come up with new ways to solve problems, new ways of helping people's lives be better, and it's going to start all over this community and in this building. So to be here and help you to celebrate this Teen Tech Center at CLUES is very phenomenal.”
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter joined us as well and talked about the deep community and cultural impact the center will bring. “Anything that you want to do these days requires an ability to understand how to navigate and utilize technology. When we think about the opportunity to help our young people to seek how to leverage technology and how to harness its power to enhance their lives, to enhance the future in front of them, and to enhance the community around them, what we are doing is we're offering a lifeline for our whole community,” said Mayor Carter.
The Best Buy Teen Center at CLUES offers youth a chance to explore technology like music composition, robotics and 3-D printing. As David Garcia, the Senior Director of In-Home & Field Services at Best Buy said, “Best Buy Teen Tech Centers address the nation’s opportunity gap by offering teens free, year-round, hands-on technology access and education in an after-school setting.”
Giving teens the tools for the careers of tomorrow
“Over the next decade, 77% (1.4 million) of all US jobs will require tech skills, yet only 400,000 people will be trained for these jobs. With community-based job readiness resources on the decline, Best Buy is working with local nonprofit partners like CLUES to provide essential access to technology tools and training for underrepresented youth and families,” García said.
“The Best Buy Teen Tech Center is a safe, interactive space for Latino teens to explore the latest technology and multimedia tools with support from peers and adult mentors,” said Ricardo Bennett, CLUES Teen Tech Center Coordinator.
During the event, local teens shared their passions and experience using the center. “After I participated in a CLUES Film-making program, there are so many opportunities opening for me: my film is wanted by festivals, I'm getting invited to panels, and of course in this amazing space: the CLUES Teen Tech Center. I have never imagined that I could accomplish what I had without the help of CLUES and its equipment. I know that there is more that I can do by having this center as a resource,” said Frannie Railef.
You can view the livestream video of the event here.
Visit the Best Buy Teen Tech Center at CLUES
The Teen Tech Center is open to all East Saint Paul youth – young people interested in dropping by the center are welcomed to come in during after-school hours and explore the different tools and resources space has to offer.
Teens can challenge themselves in several different areas of technology including:
To volunteer, tour the facility or sign up, contact CLUES Best Buy Teen Tech Center Coordinator, Ricardo Bennet-Guzman at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information visit: Clues.org/services/youth-programs/best-buy-teen-tech-center/
Thanks to our partners
CLUES is proud to have a Best Buy Teen Tech Center, a member of the Clubhouse Network. We are grateful for the partnerships that make this unique programming possible.