Valley Works: Updating computer skills

FRESNO, California

Patricia Mullaly's computer classes are packed, with people who need to learn a skill. It's a six hour crash course to learn the Excel software program, a program almost anybody looking for a job must be able to master, just ask 57-year-old Judy Wood.

Wood explained, "They are telling me I lack the computer skills that they need for the position."

Judy, who recently lost her husband, says she needs to get back into the workforce quickly, but she found it wasn't that easy finding a computer class that met her needs. "Most every place takes a longer time, several months or it is not right now its June, July and they are kinda expensive."

"A computer is really simple if you think about it, its like a file cabinet."

Mullaly is very much aware of the need, she taught computer classes for years at the Fresno Adult School. "When Fresno Unified cut programs and laid off teachers, she was one of those let go."

Instead of seeking another position Mullaly created her own job by offering crash course computer classes. "I am getting emails every day from people who are finding me on the internet. They're seeking somebody out to teach them these classes right away because they need them to apply for a job."

Besides the six hour crash course she teaches at Manchester Center, Mullaly offers a three hour one on one session in her home office.

Like others, Janet Cotton, 47, found Patricia through the Fresno Adult School. Cotton was laid off from her advertising sales job. After not being able to find a position in her field, Janet is now looking for administrative work. "But the problem is I found that my skills have lacked, so I've got to brush up on these versions of Microsoft Office."

And if you are using a personal agency to help in in your job search you won't get to the interview stage without passing a skills test.

Job-seekers like Janet say there is a huge gap in services for professionals who are ready to go back to work right away. She says what's needed is a quick and inexpensive way for people like her to update their skills. "I found that it was limited. Either classes had already started, or they were too expensive, or they were too lengthy."

If you have the time, both the Clovis and Fresno Adult Schools offer computer courses and you can also get help at some of the libraries but what is lacking is a program that's quick and affordable. Patricia Mullaly is working to fill the gap.

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