March 19, 2010 — At a time when so many people are searching for jobs and new skills, the Missouri Career Center isn’t the only lifeboat breaking records.
The Edge Community Technology Center at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library hit its all-time high for a single month in February, with 500 registrations for our free skills training classes. The next-highest ever was 440 registrants.
People signed up for a wide variety of classes, including how to use the Internet, simple typing, basic computer skills, how to use Windows, spreadsheets and MS PowerPoint. Many of those people enrolled in a special computer training series, Edge to the Rescue, which we take weekly to library branches in five area communities besides Springfield.
People also signed up for self-paced tutorials on career-builder topics like “Effective Meeting Skills,” “Time Management” and “Managing Cross-Generational Teams;” and for personal development topics like “How to De-Junk Your Life,” and “Memory Power.”
Increasingly, they sought help from Edge staff during tutorial sessions on how to do an online job search, create a resume and fill out a job application, says Jazy Mihalik, Edge training coordinator.
A grant in late 2009 also allowed the Edge to buy 10 more laptops, giving us a total of 25 to meet the pent-up demand for class slots.
“The Missouri Career Center refers a lot of people to us for basic computer skills and to learn basic (job) skills because it can’t accommodate all the people who need those skills,” Mihalik says.
“Every single job, anymore, seems to require some kind of computer skills like Word or Excel,” she says. “Even filling out a job application online, they have to have at least basic computer skills. Those tutorials can give them that.”
Older adults are also driving demand, Mihalik adds.
“We see an awful lot of seniors who are still trying to get into the digital age. It keeps advancing and they feel so far out of touch,” she says.
The Edge has a class series specifically for seniors, where they can learn how to use the Internet, download audiobooks or just e-mail the grandkids in Michigan.
All classes are free for library card holders. Registration is required and simple by calling 837-5011. You can check out the entire Edge and Edge to the Rescue schedule at thelibrary.org/edge.
Kathleen O’Dell is community relations director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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