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Ottawa County Michigan Works!



Employment Expertise - Groups Help Job-Seekers Develop High-Tech Skills

Question: I want to apply for a job, but I don’t have very good computer skills. What can I do to learn the basics and spend little or no money?

Many of today’s jobs require some knowledge of computers and some basic software skills. This can even be true if you are – or are planning to be – in a manufacturing environment.

There are several resources you can use for basic computer and software training. Some of them require you to go to a location and take a class. Other resources are online and are free of charge.

One location that offers lower-cost, entry-level computer classes is Evergreen Commons in Holland. A one-day course costs $28 for a non-member and $18 for members. Evergreen Commons is a retirement community center but there is no age restriction for computer classes.

The Spring Lake Library offers some free computer classes, and registration is required. All libraries have computers for public use, though usage is often timed to one hour or less.

Locations that offer computer use that isn’t timed include both service centers of Ottawa County Michigan Works! in Holland and Grand Haven. Users can sit in the Career Navigation areas as long as they need. Visitors can work through tutorials and ask questions of staff who, time permitting, can offer one-on-one assistance.

Online training sites assume users have access to a computer. This can be at home, at a library or at one of the Ottawa County Michigan Works! access points. One comprehensive site offers over 700 subjects! These include computer basics, Internet basics and a wealth of software program tutorials. The web site is: www.gcflearnfree.org. A thorough listing of free online training can be found at www.miottawa.org/jobsearch.

If you still have questions about specific classes you can call educators like the Thompson M-TEC or Grand Rapids Community College and ask about computer classes they offer. You can also call your local public school system and ask if they offer classes.

Learning new skills can be challenging, but rewarding. The result may be a new and better job!

Article on the Holland Sentinel