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Computer lab gets job hunters connected
by Jebb Johnston
Sep 28, 2013 | 72 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Technology Coordinator Celester Patterson helps users of the Tech-Connect computer lab at the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubation System.  / Staff photo by Jebb Johnston
Technology Coordinator Celester Patterson helps users of the Tech-Connect computer lab at the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubation System. / Staff photo by Jebb Johnston
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The path to a new or better job often begins in front of a computer screen.

People who do not have access to a computer or are not comfortable with computers can get some help at the Northeast Mississippi Business Incubation System’s Tech-Connect computer lab, which offers the public an opportunity to create a resume, fill out job applications on-line and participate in classes to improve computer skills.

The lab has been around since 2001 as part of NEMBIS’ goal of helping people.

“We want to remind the public that this is an economic tool that is available to them when they are trying to update their skills sets, whether it be in the labor market or educationally,” said Executive Director Ray McClellan. “We have personnel available to help them do job searches on-line and to help them create resumes.”

The minimum age to use the lab is 14. Some students come to the lab to do high school and college work, while a number of older residents also frequent the computers.

“We have two sisters that are probably in their 70s, and you would not believe how motivated they are in coming to these classes,” said Yvonne Brown, administrative manager.

McClellan sees a big need in the community, particularly among “displaced workers who have gotten laid off, who worked at ITT forever and a day and didn’t have any skill sets to speak of, and they come here and try to get retrained in some capacity so that they can get qualified to go back into the labor market.”

The lab is equipped with Apple iMacs, and NEMBIS staff will help those who are not comfortable using computers. Sometimes, McClellan said, people just need the comfort of having someone sit down with them to help.

“We try to teach them so that the next time they will be able to do it themselves,” he said. “If we have to actually do it for them, we’ll go as far as doing that.”

The staff can help lab users set up an e-mail address to keep tabs on any bites from their resumes. They can also stage a mock job interview to help people prepare to make a good impression.

Open access hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition to NEMBIS, the Tech-Connect Program involves the city and county school districts, Boys and Girls Club, Project Attention, Lighthouse Foundation and LINK. It is supported by a Pierce Foundation grant.

For more information about the lab or computer classes, call Yvonne Brown or Celester Patterson at 287-4369. NEMBIS is at 1828 Proper Street.
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