Lenovo is working with the Kramden Institute to make sure that students get the computer skills they need today and in the future.

On Friday, the world’s No. 1 PC maker will join the non-profit institute for the grand opening of a new computer lab and STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] training center that will help students learn new computing skills. Durham-based Kramden is focused on helping disadvantaged students bridge the “digital divide.” The institute collects and refurbishes computers. The effort extends the useful life of electronics, reduces electronic waste and provides students with computers.

“Since we were founded in 2003, we have awarded over 14,500 computers and our goal in 2013 is to refurbish and award 3,000 computers to students in North Carolina,” Kramden Institute Executive Director Michael Abensour told WRALTechWire.

Students in grades 3 through 12 who do not have working computers at home can receive the Kramden Institute-refurbished computers for free but the students must be academically deserving and nominated by a teacher.

Now Kramden is expanding beyond its role of just supplying computers. Abensour said that the Lenovo Learning Lab will be a multi-use space.

Kramden will teach the students who receive computers about software and Internet usage for the machines that they receive. It will also offer STEM classes to local middle and high school students so that they can spend time in the lab going over basic computer concepts and then go directly into the lab space and put that knowledge to work. Abensour added that Kramden plans to partner with other non-profit organizations to offer some advanced classes, ranging from app development to coding.

Lenovo, which maintains dual headquarters in Morrisville and Beijing, China, is providing both the technology and volunteer support for the computer lab. The company is the founding sponsor of Kramden and the PC maker provided financial support during the institute’s seed period in 2005 and 2006.

Over the years, Lenovo has donated technical support, equipment and volunteer time to Kramden. Abensour said that a number of Lenovo employees volunteer at Kramden regularly and some of them have offered to teach the forthcoming classes. Lenovo donated more than 24 laptops that will be used exclusively in the classroom.

The grand opening of the Lenovo Learning Lab is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday at the Kramden Institute’s office at 4915 Prospectus Dr. Suite J, Durham.