April 28, 2016, Blue Bell, Pa.—Over the past two years, Montgomery County Community College’s Office Assistant Certificate program, offered through the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative, has helped dozens of unemployed workers find jobs.
Patricia Karpinski, Hatboro, was one of those workers. She found herself out of a job after her employer of 27 years ceased operations.
“I was nervous, as I had spent so much time in the food industry. I was not sure what to do next,” she recalled.
Karpinski heard about Office Assistant program at MCCC and decided to give it a try. Today, she works as an office manager, thanks to the training she received.
“I am sure that I would not have been asked to interview nor offered the job had it not been for this course,” she explained. “The lessons and practice gave me the skills I needed.”
In the 16-week, competency-based Office Assistant Certificate program, students learn critical computer literacy and other skills expected by employers in business environments. Course modules include Business Software Essentials, Microsoft Word Applications and Modern Office Management. The program also provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion.
“I liked the modules and materials that were covered, including the Microsoft Office applications,” said Karpinski. “I needed to see what skills were currently needed in the marketplace, and the Business Software Essentials module really opened my eyes to the latest technology used in offices and companies.”
The next cohort of MCCC’s Office Assistant Certificate program will run from May 23-Sept. 7. Prospective students can learn more about the program by attending information sessions on May 10 from noon-1:30 p.m. or May 11 from 6-7:30 p.m. in room 101 of the Advanced Technology Center at MCCC’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.
The Office Assistant Certificate program is primarily taught online, with optional open computer labs on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9 a.m.-noon. Labs are held at MCCC’s Central Campus.
After completing the certificate program, students may pursue the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam for Microsoft Word 2013. This sought-after credential provides students with marketable skills that will further increase their chances for employment. In addition, students who complete the certificate can apply the courses to MCCC’s Office Management credit certificate program.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, office and administrative support occupations comprise one of the largest occupation groups in the Commonwealth. The Center for Workforce Information and Analysis projects 105 annual openings in this field in Montgomery County. Additionally, there is a growing need in the Montgomery County region for general office clerks, with an expected 338 annual openings in the County and an estimated 14,620 total jobs in 2016.
Through JRWA, MCCC joins 16 other community colleges across the country in providing middle-skills training, industry recognized credentials, and access to employment across varying industry sectors for unemployed individuals. The initiative is funded by a three-year grant from the Walmart Foundation and is led by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
- Alana J. Mauger