Workforce Development Board Now Offers Computer Skills Assessment, Training
For the City-Times
In acknowledgement of Wisconsin’s Computer Science Education Week, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and its Job Center partners announce that they are implementing new services to assist job seekers in assessing and improving their basic computer skills, as well as exposing them to careers in Information Technology.
These new services were precipitated by two factors. First, the recent economic downturn and the unprecedented number of dislocated workers in the region resulted in an available labor pool with relatively limited computer skills. Second, computers have revolutionized the workplace across all industries, raising the skills requirements for most new jobs.
The goal of the project is to ensure that all job seekers have the necessary skills to perform an online job search, apply for positions electronically, and possess the basic word processing skills necessary
to compete for and retain employment. The lack of computer skills creates a significant barrier to employment and success in the workplace.
The first step in the new service was to identify an effective computer skills assessment tool. After careful review, the Board chose to use the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment. Developed in 2010 by a collaboration of libraries, workforce partners, and educational institutions in the Twin Cities, the Assessment is designed to measure the computer skills of low skilled adults and dislocated workers. The Board became one of the first sponsored sites outside of Minnesota to use this tool.
Based upon the results of the Assessment, job-seekers are guided through a series of courses, designed to equip them with skills necessary to compete for available jobs. A “Computers 101” course ensures that those jobseekers with very little experience using a computer are able to begin building their knowledge. A “Windows Basics” course focuses on word processing and the tools necessary to create resumes and cover letters. An “Internet Basics” equips job seekers with the skills needed to search and apply for positions electronically.
Although the initial pilot project was designed to help job seekers assess and build upon their computer skills, it has been expanded to include career advising. With the rapidly growing demand from employers in North Central Wisconsin for workers skilled in information technology, Job Center job seekers are being channeled into a variety of IT educational programs being offered by technical colleges and universities.
Job seekers interested in pursuing these new services can contact the Wisconsin Rapids Job Center at 715.422.5000 or the Marathon County Job Center at 715.261.8700.
Computer Science Education Week is being observed in recognition of Grace Murray Hopper, one of the first females in the field of computer science. Hopper engineered new programming languages and pioneered standards for computer systems which laid the foundation for many advancements. The week of December 9-15, 2013, in honor of her birthday, is designated as “Computer Science Education Week”.
For more information on Computer Science Education Week, go to www.csedweek.org. For more information on the Computer Pilot Project contact NCWWDB’s Job Center Liaison Ali Konkel at 715.204.1648 or [email protected].
The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is a public/private partnership between government and business that provides over-sight to area Job Centers and plans, administers and coordinates Workforce Investment Act (WIA) employment and training programs for Adults, Youth and Dislocated Workers in the North Central Wisconsin counties of Adams; Forest; Langlade; Lincoln; Marathon; Oneida; Portage; Vilas; and Wood. Our purpose is to provide policy, planning, oversight and funding for local workforce development programs and address workforce issues for job seekers and employers as they emerge within our region. To visit NCWWDB’s website go to: www.ncwwdb.org.