Jo Anne Embleton
Jacksonville Daily Progress
CHEROKEE COUNTY —
Groups in Jacksonville and Rusk are stepping up to meet the needs of residents who are looking to polish up – or even gain – computer skills by offering free weekly classes.
Beginning Oct. 19, Jacksonville's Clothes Closet and More will offer intermediate-level computer classes, while Singletary Memorial Library are underway.
The Jacksonville computer education classes were launched last April, and according to the program's executive director, Mickey Gear, they've caught on like wildfire.
“We already have a waiting list for the next class,” she said.
Teacher Kathryn Morrison is a MicroSoft-certified teacher who first started with a basic computer class, in which students “are basically taught how to take a computer out of a box and set it up,” Gear said.
Morrison “teaches people how to be comfortable using the computer; she teaches them the terminology, the parts of the computer and really gets inside to explain how it works,” she said, adding that students learn how to navigate the Internet and use office programs like Excel. “The class really gets into it.”
Students in the intermediate class delve even further into computer usage, with the goal being “to eventually help people find jobs by using computers,” Gear said. “(Morrison) wants to have them write a resume then learn how to submit it when they're searching for jobs.
“Hopefully, this will give students certain skills to offer an employer” while becoming more comfortable in working with computers, she said. “Because even if you do work at a store, chances are the register you use will be a computer register, so the more familiar someone is working with a computer, the more comfortable they are using it in their job.”
The Jacksonville classes have drawn approximately 40-50 students since April, ranging in age from 12 to 80-something. The upcoming course is a four-week one, taught from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the at 314 S. Main Street site.
“It's everything we were hoping it would be,” Gear said.
The classes are limited to eight students – all who complete the program receive a certificate – but because of their popularity, organizers are hoping to expand it to 10 students.
“These classes have been so popular, we never lack for somebody for classes ... we have a waiting list for the next (basic class),” Gear said.
In Rusk, computer classes at Singletary Memorial Library, located at 207 E. 6th St. in Rusk, also have been attracting a good number of students, said library assistant Nancy Ford.
The current class began earlier this month, held from 9-10 a.m. Thursday, before the library opens, and taught by library assistant Christine Camplain.
“People really seem to be taking advantage” of these courses, Ford said, recalling, however, that when the program initially began a year ago, “we had four people.
“But they're excited to know that we're doing this – people had told us that they had a computer but didn't know how to use it,” so the classes came in handy, she said.
To learn more about the Jacksonville classes, contact The Clothes Closet and More at 903-586-0204; information about the Rusk program is available through Singletary Memorial Library, 903-586-5916.