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Facebook invests in Crook County's future

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Feb 20 2013 08:49:17 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with Crook Co. officials and about $182,000 in donations that Facebook has given, in order to give back to their community.

PRINEVILLE, Ore. -

Investing in the place they call home -- that's why Facebook's Prineville data center gave $182,000 to the Crook County community on Wednesday.

To get kids interested in jobs of the future, $100,000 is for Cook County High School and $82,000 is for the Crook County Foundation, to boost tourism and create more jobs.

"To have Facebook come in and donate $100,000 to technology is just a fantastic, and will really impact our whole student body," said Principal Rocky Miner.

When the principal started four years ago, he said they had to slash positions and cut programs, but now with a check for $100,000 there's a new opportunity.

School officials have not decided exactly how they'll spend the cash yet. They plan to visit the most high-tech schools in Oregon to get ideas about how to model their own program.

Facebook officials said they will be there to help along the way.

"We're not really sure where we want to spend that money at right now," said Facebook Data Center Manager Joshua Crass. "We just want to be open-minded when we go out there, talk to other people, and figure out how we can get our students prepared."

Two CCHS seniors interned at Facebook this summer and say it was an experience that was invaluable.

"It showed me that something I thought was a hobby could be a fantastic career," said Shad Bennight.

"We learned about servers, how data centers run -- we did everything from labeling different racks to labeling different servers," Nathanial Stevenson said.

Bennight and Stevenson said they have big plans after graduation.

"I've enlisted in the United States Navy," Stevenson said. "I'm going to be doing aviation electronics, so I'm excited for that and pursuing a college degree."

"I plan to get a bachelors in programming and a masters in computer management," Bennight said.

After they get their education, Crook County Foundation leaders hope they'll have jobs to come home to.

"Creating jobs so that our kids can stay here," said Executive Director Krisiti Steber. "It's surprising how many kids go away to school, and want to come back and raise their families here. And there's not always a lot of opportunities for them to do that."

After the check presentations, Facebook officials gave reporters a tour of their second building at the data center.  I'll give you a look inside Thursday night on NewsChannel 21.

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