by Alana J. Mauger and Susan Williams
Montgomery County Community College is offering a twist to traditional workforce development with the introduction of its new Office Assistant Certificate this fall. The program—part of the national Job Ready, Willing and Able (JRWA) Initiative—provides built-in job placement assistance and a coach to guide students through the training and certificate completion.
The fall iteration of this 11-week program runs from Sept. 29 through Dec. 11. Classes are held Monday through Thursday from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. Students are also required to attend six workshop sessions, which are held from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and Dec. 4, and from 9:30 a.m.-noon on Saturdays, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13. The cost is $495, which includes instruction, workshops, course textbooks and Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam fees. To learn more or to apply, call 215-461-1468 or email JobTrakPA@mc3.edu.
Students enrolled in the Office Assistant Certificate Program will 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.
“Local industry is in search of qualified office assistants,” said Suzanne Holloman, dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education. “This 135-hour certificate is laser-focused to train individuals who are unemployed for a middle-skills job.”
After completing the certificate, 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 the College’s Office Administration Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree 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, Montgomery joins 17 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).