ITE is a collaborative that brings community, volunteers, professionals, business and charity together for social change.
ITE was established by 6 Maine residents in 2002 with a mission to increase technology access and literacy. Today ITE is fulfilling this mission through a variety of programs. Our immediate focus is on helping non-profits, families and individuals overcome obstacles to technology access such as cost, literacy, fear, sustainability and availability.
"We started with a great idea, but without a budget. Thanks to technology donors, sponsors, foundations and volunteers - our mission has grown from my garage and kitchen table to a self-sustaining social enterprise that creates employment and has made technology accessible for more than 4800 people living between Kittery to Fort Kent."
- Chris Martin, Co-founder of the Information Technology Exchange and PCs for MAINE program.
Who We Serve:
1) Individuals and Families who need technology for educational and career skills development objectives - special focus on individuals and families with lower incomes and/or disabilities. This effort is supported via ITE's PCs for MAINE project through a direct service model;
2) Other non profit and NGO programs that provide supports or advocate for people engaged in educational or career skills development pursuits, people with disabilities and community support organizations with a focus on education and enrichment for the general public. These organizations can integrate PCs for MAINE project services into their own programs, which enables program enhancement and increased capacity. Qualified non profit groups can also use ITE's technology equipment, research and human capital to sustain and enhance their internal operations.
3) The general public can access ITE resources through our PC MEDIX Computer Sales and Service group. This program provides retail computer sales and repair services to the community at large, while providing paid professional development for our IT staff and learners who in turn support non profits and PCs for MAINE participants. This program also sustains much of our operating and development costs for ITE's social efforts resulting in lower participation costs, higher quality service etc...
4) While providing these ongoing services throughout many diverse communities, ITE works to develop Maine's tech-savvy workforce. Many of our current and past employees started as volunteers from Maine's Community College and Technical College systems and Department of Labors' Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Career Center divisions. These candidates work in our customer support and production environments with mentoring from our professional staff and get opportunities to explore the diverse field of Information Technology, discover their strengths, build on weaknesses and generate a credible employment portfolio. Another exemplary effort in this area is ITE's partnership with SKILLS Inc, a Waterville based non profit that is now creating paid employment for people with developmental disabilities while recovering reusable technology for use in our (and other) programs. This project is called 'E-Waste Alternatives' which is also featured on this website.
The Business Model:
ITE uses the “Social Enterprise” business model to sustain it's mission. This reduces dependence on grants and has allowed ITE to constantly increase service quality, quantity and program longevity.
ITE also leverages donated business class computers, charitable software licensing channels, open source software, and the new parts needed to make complete systems to maximize social returns for the communities served by our programs.
As of then end of our 2008 fiscal year, ITE and its contributors have combined over $1,736,700.00 in cash and donated goods to provide a $4,080,000.00 service value to Maine's most economically and technology challenged communities.
The estimated cost of this service via conventional means would be $870.00 per participant. ITEs alternative methods have reduced participation costs to an average of only $372.00, while sponsors have reduced participant out-of-pocket costs to $174.00.