Linda Nelson

“By teaching a parent or a grandparent computer technology skills, they would be likely to advocate a student’s choice of STEM or IT as a career.”

My Story

Linda Nelson is the Executive Director of Pyramid Community Development Corporation (CDC). The primary focus of Pyramid CDC programming is to serve as an employment gateway and a solution for the tech talent shortage in Columbus, Ohio. The organization offers a Computer Technology Basic and IT Certification Training Program, a STEM and robotic camp for youth, and a Digital Literacy Training Program for seniors. Pyramid CDC also offers training and technical assistance to startups and expanding micro-businesses.

Linda noted that in “this past year, [Pyramid CDC] were able to provide 3 cohorts of basic IT training to seniors at the new Linden Community Center". They also provided a 9-week SMARTNET IT, Entrepreneurship and Sport Management Career Summer Camp at Milo Grogan Recreation Center for youth, ages 11-14. The camp concluded with the youth designing and implementing a Dodgeball Tournament, using their business model for their peers. The students marketed; held fundraisers; designed uniforms and recruited players for the tournament. At the conclusion of the program, each student received a Proclamation from Columbus City Council for their effortsm while Pyramid CDC was able to provide a Dell laptop; a MicroBit Robot Car, and a strong educational knowledge of Raspberry Pi devices, JavaScript, and Python programming language.

Linda noted that the biggest impact is in the fact that programming is “building a new generation of IT end-users. Our course is multi-generational. Pyramid CDC programming is multi-generational. By teaching a parent or a grandparent computer technology skills, they would be likely to advocate a student's choice of STEM / IT as a career. It's building a generation of new IT experts. Many in the community of Linden do not have access to home computers and Internet, which requires Pyramid CDC to meet them where they are educated when conducting our training." Students completing programs are able to become certified at industry standards, often with little to no prior IT experience, something she finds incredibly rewarding in her career. “It’s also rewarding to see our senior students thrive for more training and our youth attendance at 89% throughout our summer programs."

Linda has recognized that there are still shortcomings in the technology space and challenges in the geography where she works. Linden, like many neighborhoods around Columbus, lacks IT infrastructure to provide free wi-fi at home. This isn’t the first time she has seen the impacts of the lack of broadband connectivity. Before Pyramid CDC, Linda worked for 24-years at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. She witnessed the disconnect between farmers and technology. Her dream? "Having students from both the city and rural areas collaborate on agriculture science projects to research processing and products of food. Teaching them how to apply genetic improvement; the use of technology and development of specific properties of diverse cereals; fruits; flowers; forest trees and vegetables, as well as the handling of cultivations and native forests, would be a win-win for all parties involved."

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Pyramid Community Development Corporation (Pyramid CDC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. They provide two (2) pillar programs, SMARTNET, a Computer Technology and The Center Point., a Small Business Training and Technical Assistance Program. Pyramid CDC, located on the corner of 11th and Cleveland Avenue inside the Linden COTA Transit Center, provides training to youth, adults, and seniors.