Job center offering one-on-one computer lab time
If you go
What: The Literacy Connection's free, open enrollment drop-in computer lab.
When: 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays, starting Oct. 4.
Where: The Resource Room of the Rock County Job Center, 1900 Center Ave., Janesville.
To learn more: Contact The Literacy Connection, 205 N. Main St., Suite 102, Janesville, call (608) 756-3125 or visit theliteracyconnection.com.
JANESVILLE If you're among Rock County's jobless who have no computer skills or maybe even a fear of keyboards and mice, you'll be relieved to know The Literacy Connection is starting free computer labs.
The labs are open to anyone, not just the unemployed, said Cathy Jennings, local literacy council executive director.
The curriculum, Log On and Learn, was developed by a literacy council in New Jersey for people who need to start with the basics. Instruction will cover computer vocabulary, an introduction to Microsoft Word, use of the Internet and how to set up and use email, Jennings said.
"Support will be provided on an individual or small group basis, covering materials adult students need to build confidence of using a computer. It's an opportunity to get assistance with a tutor one-on-one to guide them with the basics of computer skills," she said.
The Literacy Connection received a grant from the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin to buy the curriculum. Money from the council's general fund will pay for the lab that includes 12 computers and nine trained literacy council volunteer tutors.
Jennings is writing a grant for future funding, and more volunteers eventually will be trained, she said.
People who master basic computer skills will be referred to the Hedberg Public Library's free computer classes.
"We're not trying to duplicate what they do, but library staff told us it's difficult for them in a class to sit down to work with someone struggling and needing more one-on-one assistance," Jennings said.
Lesson handouts will be provided for lab participants who can attend as often as they want, she said.
Jennings learned of the need for the computer lab through a Collaborative Organizations Responding to Dislocation subcommittee. The Literacy Connection is among community organizations collaborating to address Rock County's evolving economic needs while assisting dislocated workers and their families.
"Out of the CORD initiative, we heard many job seekers lacked basic computer skills," she said.
Amy Charles, job service district director at the Rock County Job Center, said the computer lab is a needed service, and she hopes people take advantage of it.
"With a lot of employers using online applications, the need to have computer skills is greater today than ever before," she said. "Our focus is to connect job seekers to employment opportunities, and we want to give people the tools so they can be successful."