Employees reaching out to help schools meet technology needs

By Jake Joy and Ken MacNevin DLA Disposition Services

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People from across Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services are working to build greater awareness of the DoD Computers for Learning program.

The program, also known as “CFL,” authorizes direct donations of used or excess information technology equipment received from the armed services to schools and other K-12 educational programs throughout the country. At Hill Air Force Base Utah, Jared Grimshaw, a specialist in handling excess property for reutilization, transfer and donation, said 22 area schools were contacted to make them aware of the opportunity. Grimshaw said he’s telling schools how to gain access to critical learning aids like laptops, monitors and servers that they may otherwise be unable to afford.  

Program advocates point out that use of the CFL program also avoids disposal costs, helps limit the environmental impact of electronic waste, and increases the lifespan of equipment for which the taxpayers have already paid. Fueling the awareness campaign is an anticipated U.S. Air Force divestiture of an estimated 400,000 computer items. The devices are serviceable, but no longer meet Air Force security and operating system requirements. DLA is coordinating with Air Force officials and commanding officers at bases around the U.S. to find homes for as many of the devices as possible, and the push is now getting fully underway.

The agency has slowly added schools to the CFL rolls during fiscal 2018, and there were 334 enrollees in the system at the end of January. During that same month, a dozen participants asked for property. So far this year, over 60 percent of the items selected were laptop and desktop computers, around 25 percent of the requisitions were monitors, and the remainder included items like printers, fax machines and servers and network switchers.

Customer support representatives have begun holding informational calls with Air Force personnel, helping them to understand and help market the opportunity to schools in their geographic regions. DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon has also contributed to the awareness effort, recently sending out a pair of CFL-themed memos to the entire workforce, along with a brochure that agency workers can share with their local schools to help spread the word.  

 “Do you have kids or grandkids in school?” Cannon wrote in his initial workforce note.  “Maybe you could visit their school with a CFL brochure in hand and tell them about this great opportunity – not just for these Air Force turn-ins, but the continuing influx of IT equipment we receive at our sites all the time.”

The outreach at Hill was largely done by phone with Grimshaw talking with either a school administrator, principal or lead IT technician about the program.  In each case he had an electronic copy of the CFL brochure and a PowerPoint presentation about the program at hand to share.   He said he was visiting nearby schools to get a face to face feel for questions they might have.   He worked with the Layton Christian Academy just south of the base and now their application is almost complete.  He also made a personal visit to the Montessori school in Ogden, Utah around 10 miles north of the base.   

Cannon doubled down on the effort to spread the word about what the program can do for schools and their students on Friday, Feb. 23. He wrote all senior DLA leader to tell them that personal contact with local educators by DLA Disposition Services employees like Grimshaw was beginning to bear fruit. He said that while the number of schools enrolled has increased around 10 percent since the start of the fiscal year- he hopes people all across DLA will now join in sharing the word.   

A CFL brochure has details on how schools can join the program, plus sign-up and contact information.