Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.— Sharon Wensel, of North Wales, admits she was nervous to be back in the classroom after many years. But it didn’t take long for her to become comfortable—and to even enjoy—the online modules and open computer labs that are part of Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Office Assistant Certificate program.
“I was worried about the age of the other students, and if I would fit in. I was happy to discover that many of the other students felt the same way!” she shared.
Students enrolled in MCCC’s Office Assistant Certificate program 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.
Learning those skills enabled Wensel to find full-time employment as an administrative assistant with a local home design company after she completed MCCC’s program. Today, her responsibilities include filing, answering phones, assisting customers and data entry.
“This course was really influential in helping me to change my career direction and adding relevancy to my skill sets,” she said.
MCCC offers Office Assistant Certificate training as part of the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative, which provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion. The 16-week competency-based curriculum prepares in business software and office procedures.
The fall iteration of the Office Assistant Certificate program at MCCC begins Oct. 12 and runs through Jan. 28. The course is primarily taught online, with optional open computer labs on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-noon at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, and on Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. at the West Campus, 101 College Drive, Pottstown. Students are also required to attend three workshop sessions on Nov. 19, Dec. 17 and Jan. 28 from 6-9 p.m.
The cost is $495, which includes instruction, workshops and course textbooks. Deferred payment is available to those who qualify. To learn more or to apply, call 215-461-1468 or email JobTrakPA@mc3.edu.
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).