Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now, Inc., is encouraging area residents to take advantage of free classes to assist the unemployed and underemployed to build their job seeking skills.
NEON offers free instructor-led computer classes at the agency's NorwalkWorks program, located at the Ben Franklin Center, 165 Flax Hill Road -- and at NEON-Stamford office, 34 Woodland Ave. Computer classes begin monthly all year in both locations.
Training classes include Introduction to Computers and Keyboarding, Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Classes are organized at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
In addition to computer classes, NEON offers a five-Day WorkStart program to help individuals gain interview skills, develop a professional resume and learn up-to-date job seeking skills. The WorkStart program is offered once a month in both the Norwalk and Stamford locations.
Individuals interested in boosting their English and other basic academic skills, or setting off on a path toward earning a General Equivalency Diploma can enroll in daily adult education classes at NEON's Ben Franklin Center Norwalk location.
NEON also offers industry specific occupational skills training for Retail/Customer Service providing trainees the opportunity to earn a national credential and receive job placement assistance. A new Construction Trades Jobs Funnel pre-apprenticeship program is under development and scheduled to launch in Spring 2014.
"We are working with limited funding to provide high quality, fundamental workforce supports to the community as a key part of our community action mission. No matter the challenges we are committed to providing services," said NEON's newly appointed interim CEO and President Chiquita Stephenson. "Individuals in our community need opportunities to upgrade their skills so they can have a chance to access jobs in the increasingly competitive local job market."
"Since January we have served more than 670 individuals in the region with computer training, employment services/career development programming and basic skills remediation," said Rina G. Bakalar, NEON's chief workforce and community development officer, who recounted a recent encounter with a student.
"One woman came in last week and was almost in tears that she had found an Excel training class for free at NEON. She expressed frustration at missing out on being hired for several jobs due to the need to sharpen her computer skills but could not afford to take classes. We want to make sure others know we are here to help."
To find out more about NEON's free Workforce programs individuals can call 203-663-7441 or 203-663-7424 in Norwalk, or 203-352-4824 in Stamford. A program and class calendar is also available on NEON's website at http://neoncaa.org.
NEON serves vulnerable families in lower Fairfield County and operates numerous services and programs.
for early childhood development; adult and youth employment and training; energy assistance; neighborhood community centers; wealth & asset development; after chool activities; family services; community corrections and substance abuse residential services.