Ivey helps mark foundation program’s first graduates

Published 8:20am Saturday, November 16, 2013

Selma is now home to six new computer technicians.

Brandon Ervin, Brian Ervin, Cornelius Ford, Better Furguson, Jessica Perry and Aaron Sanders celebrated their graduation from NFL Player and Selma native Michael Johnson’s MJ93 Foundation’s computer initiative.

MJ93 began training the students in July on various computer skills, including how to tear apart a computer and put it back together.

Course instructor Rufus Ford said the graduates would soon take an A+ certification test, which covers numerous technologies and operating systems. After the test, the graduates will be certified as computer technicians.

“This is a high-end course,” Ford said. “After they take the test, the graduates will be employable right away.”

The average starting salary for a computer technician is $40,000, Ford said.

Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey spoke at the graduation ceremony, telling the students circumstances do not determine destiny.

“You all certainly made a wise choice,” Ivey said. “There are plenty of job opportunities in the technology sector, but what you do with your new knowledge is your choice. The certification is a door opener.”

Ivey also thanked Johnson for re-investing in the community by creating the program. Because of the program, she presented Johnson with a certificate, making him an honorary lieutenant governor.

“He pursued his passion in sports and now he is giving back to his family and where he grew up, that’s the mark of a real man,” she said.

Funding the program wasn’t cheap. Johnson’s charity spent about $3,500 per student for the class. In addition to the class, students also received a free laptop computer and preparation materials for the A+ exam.

Next year, Ford said he hopes to expand the program to offer two classes and include adults in the program.

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