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Computer skills testing available locally

WORTHINGTON — Worthington Adult Basic Education and the Nobles County Library are teaming up to offer a basic computer skills certificate program to local residents in need of assistance.

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The computer skills programming is geared to all people who lack the basic skills of computer use, from word processing to Internet use, sending and receiving emails and even joining a social network.

In the program, computer skills of participants are assessed through online training modules. At the end of each training, Northstar identifies those areas the students understand and, at the same time, the areas in which they may need more instruction.

“We will provide instruction in the areas where they are lacking,” said Marty Olsen, program manager for Worthington Adult Basic Education (ABE).

To earn a certificate in one or more of the modules, adults must take the tests in a supervised setting at an approved sponsoring site. Those sponsoring sites include both the ABE department at the West Learning Center and the public library. Both Worthington locations will also identify those individuals who could utilize the free trainings.

“People without basic computer know-how are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, because employers expect basic computer skills for most jobs, including many entry-level positions,” said Nobles County Library Director Julie Wellnitz. “We are participating in the Northstar program because it will help our clients have a better chance at getting jobs and getting ahead.”

Worthington was one of five greater Minnesota cities chosen to offer the Northstar Digital Literacy training modules and testing. Other communities include St. Cloud, Duluth, Rochester and Moorhead.

“We are honored to be chosen to be a sponsored site,” said Wellnitz. “With it brings grant money, which is going to allow us to purchase (two) laptops that will be available for public use in the library.”

“The original idea was to meet the needs of diverse people coming into the United States who may not have these skills,” added Olsen. Still, the program is open to anyone.

Wellnitz said the program will be a great help to library patrons.

“We spend countless hours helping do just what this program aims to teach — basic computer skills like word processing, setting up an email account, Internet researching and working with online job applications,” she said. “As long as the library is open and the Adult Basic Education computer lab can be accessed, the student and the (tutor) can figure out their own schedule.”

People can register for the free computer skills assessments — or volunteer to be a tutor — by contacting Olsen at the ABE office, 372-1239.

Students and volunteer tutors will meet next Tuesday at the ABE computer lab inside the West Learning Center, for an initial skills assessment and pairing of students and tutors. A time has not yet been set.

People may also access the self-guided assessments and take the tests online at

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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