Johnny

Job Skills Training Software

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For years we have used RACHEL (see the current content here) on both Raspberry Pis and locally installed on SD cards in "Loaded" Chromebooks to teach tech training primarily to folks that are trying to learn job skills. In addition to the other great content on RACHEL, we found that the Goodwill Community Foundation training was a huge hit all over the world in terms of getting folks practical skills they need to land jobs of all sorts. We're currently using all of this in our Computer Training Center in Jinja Uganda, in several prisons across and at several recovery centers across the US.

I'll note here that we are talking about "offline" training since:

  1. Most locations we deployed had poor internet service
  2. Folks in the connected world aren't always ready to offer internet service to free community training programs
  3. Some of our students aren't allowed online (prisons) or shouldn't be online (domestic abuse victims, etc).

The folks at Cybrary and Pluralsight have offered to provide their training to us as well but at this point we haven't found an easy way to get that training offline in a format that makes sense. (See this thread about our attempts to modularize RACHEL content). 

But RACHEL aside (since the point is providing training, not necessarily about RACHEL), we are trying to find other resources that are helpful in providing job skills training. We welcome online resources but are most interested in seeing if we can get permission to provide that content offline, in an HTML format that requires no plugins and works with most modern web browsers. Bonus points if the provider has offline content already, but if they don't we'll need help converting it as well.

Simple links to content are welcome, but we're most thankful for folks that can make contact with the provider and can help get the content into the HTML format listed above. 

We're also open to talking about our experiences and we are also looking at other hardware platforms since the RACHEL Plus units were abandoned because of explodey batteries. 

Thanks everyone!

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If you're looking to build something for a training center, to provide job skill training, etc, here's a writeup I wrote recently:
 
Your first stop is worldpossible.org and RACHEL. It puts all this content in an offline package. Of VERY special interest is the AWESOME GCF Learn Free suite (preview), which has all kinds of computer, tech and job skills training.
 
The RACHEL content is available (oddly enough vie FTP: ftp.worldpossible.org anonymous/anonymous) as a USB or Pi version.
 
I would avoid the RACHEL PLUS from their store as it have known battery issues, and can "cause fires". You’ll want to build the RACHEL Pi for sure. The actual instructions are here. This is the best way to get content delivered via wifi to multiple users without too much fuss. The down side is that the Raspberry Pi is small, can be pocketed, and can not be easily repaired in the field. But they are cheap, so bring lots and multiple copies of the SD card. Oh, and use the shutdown feature in the admin panel of the web interface to extend the life of the unit.
 
I recommend Chromebooks as clients. They are inexpensive, the guest mode is awesome for training (hard to mess up), no viruses, simple to reflash if you have problems, modern web browser, etc. We also have had luck with the ~$200 HP Stream laptops. The 11” models are around $150. These are full-blown Windows 10 laptops, with small solid-state drives. They have tiny storage, but will run Windows, can be factory-flashed fairly easily (handy because training / public access computers get buggy quickly), and can run Office which the Chromebooks can’t (easily). Of course you’ll be susceptible to viruses, and may need to reflash these more often as a result, but they are not only good for viewing RACHEL's HTML-based content, they can run Windows and Office so the students can practice what they learned in GCF. If you can’t afford the MS Office, we have a tech soup account and you can buy licenses from us. If not, you can always go with Open Office, but I prefer to teach software that will be in actual work environments. 
 
If you want to go down another rabbit hole, you can play with the idea of a “loaded” Chromebook with USB RACHEL installed on an SD Card (optionally super gluing the card into read-only mode). You can browse the content from the SD card directly via the built-in “Files” app. Note that RACHEL USB is only available in a 32GB version which doesn’t not include the AWESOME GCF Learn Free suite but it can be downloaded as an additional 11GB module. I like this for demoing the RACHEL content, but prefer the Stream for long-term training solutions. 
 
I hope this is enough to get you started. 
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