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Tackling unemployment woes with specialized training

Published 5:52pm Sunday, June 26, 2011

The harsh realities of unemployment have been hard to ignore for many in Michigan. Jobs, to put it simply, are limited. And many require computer skills that some simply don’t have.

It can be tough on what is often the already weakened spirit of those searching for a job to help as bills pile up or those hoping to find a new career.

One Niles business is doing what it can to give those job seekers more than just a little help with the computer skills they may be lacking — but a sense of hope and confidence.

“What Computer Trainers 4 You does is offer computer training from the basic, never-turned-a-computer, all the way up to training for nationally recognized certifications,” said founder Maxine Brown. “We do that for individuals and we also do customized classes for companies and small businesses.”

The need for computer training is significant and “absolutely important,” Brown said. Especially to “those who have been working on a factory floor for 20-25 years, who have no computer experience … In today’s world you have to get on a computer even to apply for a job.”

Computer Trainers 4 You trains in PC Windows, Microsoft Office, basic computer fundamentals as well along with certifications.

Brown said she has been teaching and training others since 1986. She’s taught at IVY Tech State College and she did training for Michigan Works in Berrien County.

“Since I live here in Niles, I decided to open a business in Niles,” she said. The business will celebrate its one year anniversary in October.

Since opening, Brown said she went mobile, administering training in a variety of locations for Michigan Works.

During that time, she said, she also saw those laid off from Tyler Refrigeration who needed help.
“What we’re trying to do is make them comfortable and make them understand, yes, it’s new but you can do this,” Brown said. “So we try to build their confidence … (Some) are so afraid of even touching a computer.

They don’t even (want to) try.”

Through various forms of classes — and Brown says she is working on developing community courses as well — students gain self-confidence in learning something they may have struggled with in the past.

“You can see the confidence level of themselves be raised up,” she said. “They say, ‘You know, I think I could handle going back to school.’ That’s a major achievement for them. It’s one step closer to going through and to accomplish those jobs.”

With four instructors, Brown has worked with an estimated 60 people since opening up her permanent location in Niles. She said she tries to keep classes affordable and keeps them to between 15 and 20 participants at maximum.

Computer Trainers 4 You is also considered a certified testing center providing training certification in a variety of applications.

For more information, go online at www.ct4y.com, send an email to computertrainers4you@gmail.com or call (269) 470-2262.

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