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Community Cooperative Program Furnishes Cutting Edge Computer Lab to Local School

7/17/2009

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has teamed with Drake State Technical College and Aetos Systems, Inc. on a Community Cooperative Plan (CCP) designed to revitalize the MDA's unserviceable information technology equipment and supply the refurbished equipment to local schools. The MDA Project “TRAITS”, an acronym for Technology Reutilization and Integration to Schools, seeks to better utilize available resources and in turn, get those assets repaired and into local schools. As an educational non-profit organization, Project TREE (Technology Recycling for Excellence in Education) provides an external conduit for implementation. On July 17th, the team will cut the ribbon on the first computer resource center in the Tennessee Valley at the Decatur Center for Alternative to Expulsion. This is only the second computer resource center of its kind in the state.

The MDA fully supports the “Greening of the Federal Government”. The refurbishing of these computer assets demonstrates the MDA’s dedication to sound environmental responsibility. These nonfunctioning units would normally be turned in to the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO) for resale as batch parts and could potentially have separate components reach landfills, adding to negative environmental impact. Transferring the refurbished computers to schools/educational nonprofits extends the useful life of the computer, helps improve technology inside the school, and contributes to a cleaner, greener environment.

MDA supplies repairable CPUs, monitors, and other peripheral items to Drake State Technical College. Students at Drake State then attempt to refurbish the equipment and turn a portion over to a project sponsored by Aestos Systems called Project TREE for use in local school resource centers. The goal of ProjectTREE (Technology Recycling for Excellence in Education) is to foster technology education in K-12 schools by providing computer hardware and software to interested schools and classrooms for a fraction of the cost. Classes are provided with Internet capable computers, along with a suite of open-source software to enhance inquiry-based student research and learning in areas of reading, language, science, mathematics, and social studies. The program also has a secondary benefit in that it provides valuable workforce development training for the students at Drake State.

The computer resource center at the Decatur Center for Alternative to Expulsion is the first project to be completed under the umbrella of Project TREE in the Tennessee Valley. The next school scheduled for installation is Blossomwood Elementary in the Huntsville City School System. The goal is to have the computer network installed and operational prior to the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.

News media point of contact is Heather Reed, Missile Defense Agency, at 256-450-1565, heather.reed@mda.mil. For questions concerning Drake State Technical College please contact Marty Dubey at 256-551-3136, marty.dubey@drakestate.edu. For questions about ProjectTREE, please contact Donna Coleman at 256-527-7821, donna.coleman@aetossystems.com.

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