[copperpress-advertserve-ad-reload zone="3"]
ARCHIVED  September 10, 1999

Computer lab ushers seniors into digital era

GREELEY — Aims Community College in Greeley recently opened a new computer lab that will provide senior citizens with the training to bring them into the digital age.

Microsoft Corp. established the Carlyne Orr Workforce Development Lab in honor of Orr, a 74-year-old Lakewood resident and winner of the first-ever Microsoft Technology Award for Seniors. The award recognizes seniors who use computers in their day-to-day work.

A $65,000 grant from Microsoft funded setup of the new computer lab, which is located about one mile north of the main Aims campus in the Corporate Education Center. Mark Olson, director of public information for the community college, said that Aims, which has received Microsoft grant money in the past, was chosen over the 14 other community colleges in Colorado on the recommendation of the American Association of Community Colleges.

The lab is equipped with 18 state-of-the-art Dell multimedia computers with 17-inch monitors, plus a library of Microsoft products, including Windows 98 operating system, Microsoft Office and Microsoft Works Suite 99.

Olson said the lab will be used to train seniors in technology skills that will increase their employability. The re-employment training, called the Workforce Development Program, is a cooperative effort between Green Thumb, a provider of employment and training services for mature workers, Aims and Microsoft. Green Thumb supplies the students, Aims, the training and Microsoft, the lab.

Microsoft will also contribute curriculum support in the form of a reference book, “Grown-Up’s Guide to Computing” and an instructional video, “Opening New Windows on the World,” Microsoft products used to teach computer operation to an older audience.

Cristi Barnett, a spokeswoman for Microsoft, said the materials start with the basics, but use concepts older adults can relate to, such as comparing a floppy disk to a paperback book.

The program is seven to eight weeks long, and workshops include not only an introduction to computer basics but also an assessment of students’ reading, math and writing skills, and interview and resume writing classes.

The first session in the new Workforce Development Lab began Aug. 2, and Aims plans to extend the program to the college’s Loveland site before the end of the year. In addition, Green Thumb will provide free training for eligible participants.

Roseann Guyette, training director for continuing education at Aims, said that the typical senior does not want to sit through the college quarter or semester system. “They want to get in, get the knowledge and get out into the workforce,” she said.

Olson said that the lab will serve two functions. “It will be used primarily, to help seniors get equipped technologically for re-employment [and] secondarily, for those who aren’t interested in re-entering the workforce, to bring them up to speed technologically,” he said.

Aims has addressed the second objective by developing computer classes that are not associated with the Green Thumb program but still geared toward the 55-plus age group.

Senior-designated classes are offered through Aims’ continuing education program. The workshops and seminars, which are available at both the Greeley and Loveland campuses, will begin on Sept. 20.

Aims has received nearly 50 calls per day from individuals interested in the 55-and-older classes, Guyette estimated.

Each three-hour class costs $27. A student can learn basic computer skills in about six hours and follow up with Windows 98 training in eight hours. Guyette said it typically takes about 20 hours to gain proficiency.

Call Roseann Guyette, Aims Community College, (970) 330-8008 ext. 6578.

GREELEY — Aims Community College in Greeley recently opened a new computer lab that will provide senior citizens with the training to bring them into the digital age.

Microsoft Corp. established the Carlyne Orr Workforce Development Lab in honor of Orr, a 74-year-old Lakewood resident and winner of the first-ever Microsoft Technology Award for Seniors. The award recognizes seniors who use computers in their day-to-day work.

A $65,000 grant from Microsoft funded setup of the new computer lab, which is located about one mile north of the main Aims campus in the Corporate Education Center. Mark Olson, director of public information…

[copperpress-advertserve-ad-reload zone="3"]

Related Content

[copperpress-advertserve-ad-interstitial zone="30"]