Valley Works: upgrade your skills

April 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
To be competitive in today's job market requires you are at the top of your game. That includes math, business and technical skills.

You can turn to the internet for just about anything. And when it comes to learning new skills there are a number of low-cost or free sites that offer courses in everything from web design to project management.

Career Counselor Eileen Williams said, "If you don't have the technical skills for your job there is no way you are going to get hired."

Getting those skills today is as easy as logging on.

Eileen Williams said, "There are now thankfully a number of low-fee and free websites on the internet that serve people and will give you the technical skills most of us need."

Lynda.com is a fee based website. For $25.00 a month you get access to over 1,700 courses and 80,000 tutorials. A good place if you're looking to upgrade your technical and business skills. But there are many other web sites that offer their courses absolutely free. One of them is www.gcflearnfree.org.

Eileen added, "And they have the Microsoft Office suite, they have other computer software training courses but they also have English as a second language and math skills."

Two other websites that are highly recommended are openculture.com. It offers free cultural and education programs. Kahan Academy says its mission is to provide a free world class education for anyone. The web site offers a ton of classes and over 4,000 video tutorials.

57-year-old Terry Nemec who is working to get back into the workforce after being laid off, says the web sites are a great resource.

Nemec explained, "I had to brush up on things that are brand new, yes it helped me a lot."

For mature job-seekers like Terry there are also web sites that are dedicated to connecting those over 50 with the right employer. Try Career Builders Prime and Simply Hired 50+. One of the newest job boards is an alliance between AARP and LinkedIn.

Eileen said, "AARP has gotten companies to sign a pledge that we are an age friendly company there is a level playing field as far as hiring applicants no matter your age."

"People over 50 need this kind of assistance to get their foot in the door," said Nemec. "It makes me feel positive there might be a future."

Some of the web sites offer certificated programs. And just like any other educational program career counselors say you will have to put in the time to learn the skill.


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