Tech for good: How one career coach used technology to help clients build crucial digital skills
This blog was originally published October 30, 2020, on the Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent News.
For those experiencing homelessness, the pandemic has been a painful reminder of the integral role technology plays in our lives. In a world where interviews have gone virtual and work has gone remote, those without access to technology and who lack digital skills have faced a lot of adversity. As employment coordinator at Horizon House, a comprehensive day center for people experiencing homelessness, Alysa McManus has found new ways to use technology to support and empower the clients she serves.
“I would say that for a lot of our folks, digital literacy is a real skill gap for them,” said Alysa, “I’ve always helped my clients with their email and online job applications, but prior to COVID, if people wanted to learn more advanced digital skills, I would refer them to the library because our library system does a good job offering computer classes that are accessible by our population. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic many libraries closed their doors to the public.” Alysa participated in the inaugural Skillful Indiana Governor’s Coaching Corps (SGCC), an intensive eight-month program that provides coaches with the tools and training they need to better serve Hoosiers in today’s rapidly changing labor market. The SGCC taught Alysa how to empower her clients by helping them learn and develop skills as she works with them.
As the labor market has shifted, and much of the job search process is now done online, Alysa had to get creative with technology to help her clients build digital skills and leverage online tools. For example, she has been using a tool called Classroom Pro to help virtually guide clients through online job applications. She recalls one particular job seeker with limited computer experience who could barely use the mouse and did not know how to navigate the internet when Alysa first started working with her. After Alysa showed her how to access her email and pull up employment websites, the client took notes and worked hard to learn how to do it on her own. Alysa is happy to report her client now goes to Horizon House daily and can check her email on her own and fill out job applications.
To learn more about the SGCC, please visit Skillful.com/indianaSGCC