Categories: Serving Communities

Paying IT Forward

Dozens of volunteers from companies across the region, including Lowe’s, recently visited high school students to create a greater understanding of the doors that can be opened with skills in technology. Employees from Lowe’s information technology (IT) department recently visited high school students in Charlotte, North Carolina, to help them understand the value of having skills in technology. By providing them with real-world examples of issues and how technology is used every day to solve those problems, employees hoped to increase the students’ awareness and have them gain a real interest in technology as their career path.

The future isn’t technology. The future is only technology.
—Meredith LaBonte, Lowe's Director of Enterprise Program Delivery

“The future isn’t technology. The future is only technology,” said Meredith LaBonte, Lowe’s Director of Enterprise Program Delivery. “This is probably the most important work we can do. I love coming to the schools. It’s a lot of fun to engage with the children at this age so that they start putting bigger world concepts into context.” The students performed activities with real problems Lowe’s stores encounter and then collaborated to use technology to solve those issues.

“We were extremely grateful that they were able to come in and provide these kids with actual lessons that they can relate to and see exactly what they do instead of hearing about what they do,” said Jami Dove, Technology Facilitator at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Employees also stressed to the students that anyone can have a career in technology even if they don’t have the stereotypical skills to excel in the field. “One of the misconceptions young students often have is that you have to be great at math or science in order to have a career in technology.  It is always eye opening for kids to learn that nowadays people of all different backgrounds have very successful careers in IT.  Our volunteer group is a very diverse group of professionals and that message will certainly come across to the kids,” said Scott Ross, Senior Vice President of Omni-Channel Technology at Lowe’s.

The event was sponsored by the Charlotte Area Technology Collaborative (CATC), a group that advances the technology profession and strengthens the region’s economic development by connecting businesses, education and organizations to promote and grow a diverse technology talent pipeline.