Our host sites generously provide each of us a $400 professional development fund. VISTAs are free to use it for a wide variety of professional development opportunities such as trainings, classes, and conferences. Some VISTAs select trainings to increase their technical skills. Mychie Yang, YouthLink VISTA, is one of these members. She has decided to put all of her funds towards learning a new computer system to increase the capacity of data-keeping at YouthLink.
Recently, Mychie attended Microsoft Access training at St. Paul College. Microsoft Access is a relational database. Though more complicated to use, relational databases are powerful tools for organizing data.
Mychie saw a need in her organization for a more advanced database system to be used by the YouthLink Employment navigator. YouthLink already owned the software for Microsoft Access but Mychie did not know how to use it. Mychie explains that she “needed to come up with a system for employment navigators to better track information for funders.”
She opted for St. Paul College’s 8 hour beginner class to Microsoft Access. She explains that is was easy to enroll and included a textbook in the $170 fee. Mychie praises the instructor emphasizing that the class was taught at a slow pace and was very hands-on, which is very important for introductory learners.
“Access is really awesome! Once I got a hang of it I realized it was so much better than excel” explains Mychie, adding “It’s just about finding an easier way to share information for YouthLink at the end of the year.”
Mychie has already begun creating the system. She says “It is going pretty well. I’m practicing. I hate the reports parts and I’m still trying to figure it out” but her Access training has put her on a pathway to database success.
Mychie expresses her gratitude to C3 Twin Cities and Youthlink saying, “ without the funding I wouldn’t have been able to go to the training. It gives me a stepping stone for my future. I didn’t just do this training for YouthLink. This is also for me, I want to do data entry and work with these types of systems. My hope for the future after VISTA is to have a career in data entry or data analysis or research. I think Microsoft Access really helps with that. It is pretty basic system and anybody can use it and it could be used in really any field. I think it is a good start for me because I can do data entry and analysis and understand how it works.”
Next Mychie plans to take the Intermediate Microsoft Access Class at St. Paul College to continue her learning.
The professional development fund is making it possible for Mychie and her fellow VISTAs to gain new skills and learnings to better serve their sites. For Mychie, not only did this professional development opportunity help her serve her site better it is also laying the groundwork for her future professional pursuits in data analysis and research.
Written by: Sarah Reiter
Current VISTA Member @ Project for Pride in Living and Future VISTA Leader