This is a nonprofit organization of self-described nerds offering computer training and even free computers for those who attend their workshops and build their own. Free Geek also recycles computers and office equipment (for a fee) and operates a computer electronics thrift store of rebuilt and reconditioned computers, computer towers and accessories at their storefront, 1731 S.E. 10th Ave. in Portland. More information: www.freegeek.org, or call 503-232-9350.
As one of the largest computer companies in the world, Oregon Intel operates a huge community outreach program offering tech grants to schools and institutions, as well as scholarship programs for aspiring college students interested in technology applications. Programs include the "Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics" (AWSEM) clubs, which are part of the Saturday Academy (www.saturdayacademy.org); the "Intel Power Hour" program of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Portland metro area; Intel "Computer Clubhouse" programs are offered at the Salvation Army Moore Street Center (see below) and the Portland Police Activities League; and the University Park Computer Technology center in North Portland. More information:www.technosciencesupersite.org, follow the links to "clubs."
Multnomah County Public Library
Offers free classes in basic computer use, including how to set up an email account and basic operations as well as beginning HTML and "Cyber Seniors." They also offer self-guided tutorials on basic computer skills – which are accessed on the library system's free computers. You must sign up for free computer time in advance at each branch library – look for a paper sign-up sheet at your local branch, or ask a librarian. Techno Hosts are trained computer-help assistants available free at selected library locations. More information: www.multcolib.org, click on "events," and then "event finder," or call the switchboard at 503-988-5402.
North Portland Multimedia Training Center
A free program sponsored by The Skanner Foundation, in partnership with Portland Community Media and other groups, to equip and train local citizen journalists and post their video to The Skanner's website as well as airing it on Cable Access television stations. More information: go to www.npmtc.com, or call 503-285-5555 ext. 519.
Portland Community College
Portland Community College offers computer classes as part of a degree program, as well as coursework for professional certificates, employee training classes, individual courses for targeted learning in a specific area; and even online classes you can take from home, using your computer. Those areas include: Database and administrative Development; Multimedia; Networking; Open Source Software; Operating Systems; Personal Computer/Desktop Support; Programming; Security; Technology for Small Business; Web Development; and Workplace Applications and Tools. More information: http://www.pcc.edu/career/computer-education/ Or call the college operator at (503) 244-6111, or toll free at 1-866-922-1010.
Portland Parks and Recreation
Offers three summer courses for ages high school and up (starting at ages 12 years) at locations around the city in "Internet Made Easy," "Computer: Meet Your PC," and "Computer: Microsoft Office." For people aged 55 years and over, there are six classes, including "All About E-mail," "Basic Terms & Skills," "Internet Made Easy – Senior," "Processing Skills for 'Word,'" "Projects in 'Word,'" and "Digital Photo Editing.'" More information: www.portlandparks.org, or call (503) 823-2525, 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
Salvation Army Moore Street Center
As part of its broader social service and sports programs for the neighborhood, the Center has its own Computer Club, established by Intel. Described as "an interactive learning environment," at 5325 N Williams Ave. More information: call Captains Kris and Camie Potter, 503-493-3925.
The Saturday Academy
A youth program designed to bolster public school academic offerings with weekend courses as well as summer school, Saturday Academy provides tuition assistance for creative classes including computer basics, computer design, computer game design, computer art and animation. For more information, go to www.saturdayacademy.org, call 503-200-5858.