The older workers program at the College of the Rockies continues to find a great deal of success, benefitting both students and local employers as it gets residents between the ages of 55 and 64 ready for an ever-changing workplace.
Ten out of the 12 students that took part in the program’s first intake in the spring have found employment, a testament to its effectiveness. Because of that success, a second session began this September and a third has already been scheduled for later in the fall.
Computer skills are at the forefront of the program’s curriculum, with many students claiming it was their number one area of improvement.
“Those are the skills that I was most interested in and find it difficult to attain so this program is actually quite perfect,” said Jane Fearing, one of the second session’s 12 students.
“(Learning) the computer skills has really been the strong point. Everywhere I’ve worked in the past it’s always been…company programs so I’d kind of let my own personal skills as far as Excel and Word get out of date,” said John Jackson, another student. “This has really helped.”
Students also believe that education regarding their cover letters and resumes will help them when they attempt to re-join the workforce.
“That’s been huge for me,” Fearing said. “I felt like all my bits of resume building were scattered and it has really helped us bring it together.”
Still, the knowledge that the students gain during the program is only one aspect of what makes the older workers program a success. The program also provides its mature students with the confidence that they need when applying for jobs that might have previously been outside of their comfort-zone.
“I think the whole class has gone forward leaps and bounds…there were some people who barely knew how to turn the computer on when we started,” Jackson said.
It’s clear to Campus Manager Karen Cathcart why the program has been so successful.
“The first intake was very successful and I think it was successful because we have the right mix of staff. (Program Coordinator) Jane Powell is very organized, she’s a great coordinator, she understands what the needs are of this market…she’s able to bring together a real strong group of instructors and trainers from our community,” Cathcart said.
The next older workers program will begin on Nov. 24 and applications are now being accepted. Space is limited, so program coordinator Jane Powell is urging interested individuals to get their applications submitted as soon as possible.
“Because we only have 12 spots, if we get more than 12 people, there’s a selection process so it (can) make a difference if you get your application in early,” Powell said.