Partnership Offers Free Computer Classes

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Folks in southeast Ohio are getting a chance to move ahead in the workforce with free computer and Internet training classes. Connect Ohio, a program committed to bringing the benefits of universal broadband to the state, has paired up with Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action to offer basic computer training for free.

"Ohio would like to see more people learn how to work with the Internet and how to use the Internet," said Joe McGowan, the Director of The Work Station. "So, for about three months now, we’ve been offering community classes and job search classes."

The class curriculum focuses on two major areas: computer skills and Internet training. The computer skills section focuses on software and hardware, mouse use and keyboard use. Training for Internet use includes a brief introduction to the Internet and e-mail and a brief overview of the benefits of using the Internet. McGowan says these skills all serve one main purpose.

"Since a lot of jobs now are requiring that you do things online, we want people to learn how to work with the Internet and do things online."

Participants are from all generations, with some as young as 18 and some as old as 90. Reasons for joining the class vary, with the majority of students growing up in a time where computers were not as popular. Some students, however, have never had access to the Internet before, a problem McGowan says is much more serious.

"Since it's hard to get sometimes Internet usage in some parts of the state, especially southeast Ohio, I'm hoping the state will see the need to bring it down here to this part of the country, to southeast Ohio and to the rural Appalachian region," he said.

Dozens of local residents have already participated in the computer and Internet training classes this summer in The Plains. Classes are three hours, two days a week and will continue through October. Anyone interested in participating can sign up at The Work Station in The Plains.