Libraries offer free classes for those looking to increase computer skills

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Bridget Esqueda teaches free basic computer classes in English and Spanish every week at the Goodyear Branch Library. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Bridget Esqueda teaches free basic computer classes in English and Spanish every week at the Goodyear Branch Library. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
GOODYEAR, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Computers are a fact of life in the workplace but that doesn't mean everyone is comfortable with them.

There are free classes where you can get instruction on Microsoft Office and maybe improve your chance of getting a job.

Bridget Esqueda knows computers and Microsoft Office programs. The people in her class are not so comfortable.

"I tell people I'm allergic to electronics," Kathy Whalen said, "because if I touch it, it doesn't do what everybody says it's going to do."

"I'm afraid I'm going to someplace I will never be able to get back," Grace Hottel said.

Hottel and Whalen were two of the students in Esqueda's 50-plus group trying to get a handle on the Office software.

Esqueda teaches the free basic classes in English and Spanish every week at the Goodyear Branch Library, which is part of the Maricopa County system. Other libraries often have similar classes.

"You really need to have a basic understanding of computers, as well as how to work with programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint if that's what the job entails," Esqueda explained.

Some people here are trying to get back into the workforce or improving their skills to keep up with their current job.

"I'm kind of at a crossroads," Hottel said. "I'm possibly looking for a part-time job."

Libraries are offering these free classes because there is a need in the community -- a generation of people who grew up with typewriters and record players instead of computers.

Esqueda tries to give them enough knowledge so they can create a resume, communicate by email and make themselves more valuable to an employer.

"The free online courses, tutorials -- there is definitely a vast amount of information on the Internet that you can get for free," Esqueda said.

The Maricopa Library website has a tab that says "learn." If you have a library card, you can go there, sign in and learn all sorts of programs from the comfort of your home.