Gateway: Living

New sessions of Get Smart, Get Hired programs start in January

New sessions of Pierce County Library’s Get Smart and Get Hired programs begin in early January.

The free classes offer technology training to Pierce County residents at their local libraries.

Customer experience manager Jaimie Prothro coordinates these classes with the different libraries within the Pierce County Library system.

“Every Pierce County resident should have access to technology training,” Prothro said.

The library has worked over the past year to rebrand its technology training with the focus on moving librarians from the role of instructor and into the role of facilitator by giving patrons the knowledge to find the resources they need online, rather than waiting for a librarian to help them, she said.

Their focus is on helping residents improve their digital literacy skills and to offer a range of classes to get started.

“(We want to) really help people use the software and the hardware, understand the role of technology in their lives and how to create with that technology,” she said.

The Get Smart classes offer technology education, with classes covering topics from Word and Excel, email, beginning social media, how to find online resources and use of the Cloud.

Tthe library offers both classes tailored to specific subjects and drop-in periods for patrons look for help with individualized problems.

A focus of the program is to improve patron technology skills and offer help troubleshooting specific problems, said Gig Harbor Adult Services librarian Adam Jackman.

“We’re trying to focus more on the one-to-one,” Jackman said, adding that the Gig Harbor library offers times for drop-in technology help every other Tuesday.

Get Hired are classes offered by the library system to provide resources and further training for job seekers.

The library has partnered with WorkForce Central and WorkSource Washington to offer classes and workshops and extend their accessibility into the more rural areas of Pierce County, Prothro said.

Classes offered include new technology used in searching for a job, help with creating resumes and cover letters and job hunting as a mature worker.

The library has also developed two classes that will be available for patrons in the new year: one on professional email use and another on how jobseekers can utilize the Cloud.

Online programs are also available for both Get Smart and Get Hired programs.

These online programs include:

▪ 6 Week Geek — This program provides patrons with an introduction to coding and web-development with self-paced instruction and peer collaboration at the library. Graduates of the program receive a free Microsoft certification. The Gig Harbor library will be offering this program in March.

▪ Job Track — This six-week program teaches patrons how to use Word, Excel and online cloud computing, with a free Microsoft certification on program completion.

▪ Lynda.com — This website is available to library patrons and provides video training on a wide range of topics, from resume writing to graphic design. A certificate of completion is provided.

▪ Microsoft IT Academy — This website provides more than 1,000 online courses to interested patrons.

The certificates provided by Microsoft help to set job seekers apart in the competitive job market, by demonstrating they have the software training employers are seeking, Prothro said.

“(We’re) helping people gain confidence,” she said of these library programs. “(We’re) using our role as a connector in the community to get people in the know about what resources are available to them.”

Library patrons can sign up for any of these classes online through the library’s website or by calling (253) 548-3305 to reach librarians at the Gig Harbor branch. More information about these programs can be found online at www.piercecountylibrary.org.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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