The public library in Iredell County offers the only free access to Internet computers for Iredell County citizens. During these troubled economic times the public library’s resources are more in demand than ever. Many people are out of work, and even those who are employed can often not afford to even buy books, magazines or newspapers, let alone buy a computer and pay for Internet access. The Iredell County Public Library is a primary resource for those that are unemployed or looking to change jobs. More and more people are coming in to do job searches online, fill out online applications, and create resumes. For those lacking computer skills finding a job has become a challenge. Even when they spot a job they might qualify for and have access to the Internet though the library, if they lack the computer skills to fill out an online application or create a resume they are at a distinct disadvantage.
To help the unemployed looking for work, the Iredell County Public Library and Mitchell Community College have teamed up to offer free computer classes offering basic skills for employment training. The classes are designed to help the unemployed enter today’s job market with the use of computer skills. Most companies today no longer give paper applications. Instead they refer you to the company website where you fill out an application online, attach your resume, and supply them with your e-mail address so they can communicate back to you. The classes being taught at the library are designed to give you the skills you need to do all of these things and more. The classes start at the beginning and will teach you how to use a keyboard and mouse, basic typing, copy and pasting in a document, use of the Internet, setting up an e-mail account, and proper use of the computer.
Ben Mull, an Iredell County resident and Mitchell Community College instructor, teaches these classes. Ben also teaches computer classes at Mitchell Community College in the continuing education department. He has been building, networking, and teaching computers since 1983 or as he says, “Before BG, Bill Gates.” The classes he teaches are called, “Basic Computer Skills for Employment.” Mr. Mull says most of the people who come to the classes know very little or nothing about a computer. He says that’s not a problem, “I try to teach them how to use a computer properly. They will learn how to use the mouse and type on a keyboard so they can access the Internet and send e-mail. The point is to get their computer skills up to speed so they will have a better advantage when it comes to getting a job. We go step by step over how to create a resume, do a job search and submit a resume online. We do not leave anyone behind. If someone gets lost or doesn’t understand we stop and help them. We show them how to access the Employment Security Commission online and how to do job searches on there.”
These free classes are taught at the Iredell County Public Library in Statesville on Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and again on Thursday evenings from 5:45 p.m. to 8:25 p.m. The classes are free, but pre-registration is recommended. Registrations can be made by stopping by the library’s Reference Department or calling 704-928-2400. If you are unable to register Ben says to stop by anyway and they will see if they can still find a place for you. Future plans may include computer classes for seniors or older adults wishing to learn computer skills. If you think you would have an interest in attending such a class please call 704-928-2400 and let us know or stop by.
Joel Reese, Local History Librarian
Iredell County Public Library
This article was published in the Statesville Record and Landmark in May 2010