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Blog // Connect Ohio

Goodwill Industries of South Central Ohio Trains More than 400 Participants on Computer Basics

By Lyndsey Kleven


As a partner in Connect Ohio’s Every Citizen Online (ECO) basic computer training program, Goodwill Industries of South Central Ohio offers the free ECO computer training through a mobile computer lab, holding training at 10 locations across 7 counties.

After catching up with ECO instructor Mark Hughes while he was setting up the mobile computer lab at Logan-Hocking County District Library, he talked about who is taking the computer training course.

“Participants are looking to learn about Internet usage and e-mail,” said Hughes. “Many come in not knowing how to turn on a computer. The south central region covers a lot of rural areas where many people lack experience because they don’t have access to this technology.”

Hughes notes that most of his participants are over the age of 50, but says that he has trained some younger participants, too. He noted that many of the senior participants who have never been exposed to a computer will return to re-take the course.

“If you come in knowing nothing about computers, sometimes the 6 hours of training is not enough,” said Hughes. “Some participants will return to re-take the training, mostly those who have never had any exposure to a computer before.”

Hughes cited the greatest interest among participants being to learn how to use the Internet; specifically participants are looking to learn how to use online banking, shop online, Skype with family members, and increase overall skills for work.   

Janet Mathias works part time in an office and signed up for the training after realizing her computer skills were lacking and her boss’s expectations were increasing.

“I’m not good on the computer and would like to be able to work full time,” said Mathias. “It’s hard to apply for jobs and most places require online applications. I feel lost and left behind.”

Mathias recently got a computer at home and after taking the training feels more comfortable using it on her own. She says she references the self-paced training portal online at home and likes working at her own pace, while taking notes.

“I need to know how to e-mail, get on the Internet, and maneuver through it,” said Mathias. “I would like to be able to print envelopes and labels, and get to a point where filling out a form online would only take me minutes.”

Mathias noted that the best part about the training is that it is free, and not overly time consuming. The full training session totals 6 hours, with classes through Goodwill being offered in three hour segments. She said the training fits well into her schedule, is close to home, and it’s great that she doesn’t have to drive far away or spend money.

Sandra Wells signed up for the training to learn more about e-mailing, Pinterest, and Facebook, but was mainly interested in using those means to keep in touch with her grandchild.

“I learned components of the computer, general information, and terminology,” said Wells.

Hughes says that if participants learn nothing else, they walk out of the class with knowledge of computer jargon they probably would not pick-up anywhere else. He says most participants learn information they were unfamiliar with and leave with Internet basics skills. 

More information about the Every Citizen Online program

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