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Safeguarding a Smooth Transition 

Aug 30, 2017 11:30 AM

Product donation is Symantec’s largest mechanism to support the nonprofit community and help nonprofits fulfill their missions. In partnership with TechSoup, each year we provide cybersecurity solutions to more than 25,000 organizations across 55 countries worldwide, allowing them to secure their most important data wherever it lives. Since launching the software donation program in 2002, Symantec has helped more than 93,000 nonprofits solve today’s biggest security challenges and protect against the ever-evolving threat landscape.

The Inland Empire, which encompasses 27,000 square miles in Southern California, has one of the highest rates of poverty in the U.S.’s twenty-five metropolitan areas: one in five people there live at the poverty level. Smooth Transition, Inc. is a nonprofit educational and vocational training organization, working to provide at-risk populations a gateway towards empowerment, educational and employment opportunities to lead a fulfilling, prosperous and purposeful life.

They began working to reach at-risk teens early, before they dropped out of high school or left the foster care system, and expanded their program to include all at-risk populations, including displaced adults, as a means to better help the community. Smooth Transition empowers underprivileged populations through life skills development, educational training, increasing levels of employability, and mentorship to prevent them from re-entering the foster and judicial system or repeating poverty and homelessness cycles.

Priscilla Gonzalez, a Smooth Transition Inc. student, shows off her completed certificate.

The nonprofit provides Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredited, flexible and relevant programs that are directly tied to career pathways and provide students with vocational certifications at low to no cost to them. Graduates of their programs not only have a high completion rate, as compared to other programs serving at-risk populations, but students also come away with significant increases in their perceived self-value and a decrease in perceived barriers to success.

In 2016, Smooth Transition served roughly 2,800 people with just four full-time staff members. Many of their programs are computer-based and require that their computer labs serve multiple uses and multiple users. One of their board members manages their IT needs on a volunteer basis and he recommended Symantec’s Norton Small Business, which they’ve been using on their systems since the organization was founded in 2009.

Symantec’s donation of anti-virus protection—through TechSoup—has enabled the nonprofit to safely use their computer labs and has increased the number of programs and services they can offer to their students. According to Dr. Robin Goins, President and Executive Director of Smooth Transition, “The donations we receive are the foundation of our success, and we cannot express enough the generational and community impact the Symantec donations provide us. Smooth Transition is an appreciative recipient of the donations we received from Symantec and look forward to providing even more impactful community programs as a result.”

Goins goes on to describe how their testing centers are networked, with students taking roughly 250,000 different kinds of exams. She worried that without security in the testing centers, the student tests would be disrupted, causing a very serious problem. “If we have things disrupting our classes it costs us money. It also costs students the ability to complete their work. Having viruses attack us would be catastrophic for us.” Goins points out that Norton Small Business also helps protect confidential information. “As a school, we’re required to protect the identity of our students and a lot of their demographic information,” she said.

Smooth Transition will continue to work tirelessly throughout the Inland Empire to provide flexible training and resources for those who don’t fit the traditional education model. Though they face many challenges in providing their students with the real, relevant work tools and skills, they are relieved knowing that their systems and data are protected.

Learn more about some of the many nonprofits utilizing Symantec products through Symantec’s partnership with TechSoup:

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