Local employers cite computer skills as most basic job need


The most pervasive training need locally is for working with computers, said Margaret Rhoads, branch manager at Manpower in Hagerstown and a member of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's business-education partnerships committee.

In just about every company, employees at all levels need some sort of computer training, Rhoads said.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a clerical person who doesn't use a computer to some degree, she said.

Even jobs traditionally considered "unskilled," like warehouse jobs, usually involve computers these days, Rhoads said.

So much inventory is tracked electronically now workers often need to enter and retrieve information from a computer, she said.

Computer training has expanded tremendously over the past five or six years and is now one of the largest programs at Hagerstown Community College, said Cannon, coordinator of business and industry training at the college.

Offerings at the college run the gamut from single-day awareness seminars to certificate programs in personal computer repair and systems engineering, Cannon said.


The college has a partnership with Microsoft as a certified training and test site, he said. That means a student who completes one of the Microsoft programs gains a certificate that's recognized throughout the business world.

Nationwide, many "new economy" jobs require some college-level training but not a traditional degree, he said.

More and more, certificate programs are answering employers' pressing needs for workers with specialized, cutting-edge skills, Cannon said.

Partnerships with well-regarded companies such as Microsoft have become a trend in workforce development and something HCC has pursued, he said.

They're not restricted to computer-related training, Cannon said.

For example, the college has a partnership with Achieve Global to offer certificate programs for managers and supervisors and another with G E Fanuc as an authorized industrial maintenance training site, Cannon said.

In addition to scheduled programs that are open to anyone, the college will customize training to meet a company's specific needs and offer it at the college or on-site, he said.

Hagerstown Community College is constantly updating its offerings to follow employment trends and meet the needs of local employers, Cannon said. About a year ago, the college started offering medical and dental office training to meet local demand for workers skilled in those areas.

Due to the growth in the hospitality industry locally, the college's goal is to offer some certificate programs in hospitality areas in the near future, Cannon said.

The college has offered a smattering of food service and hospitality classes in its schedule and has done contract training for restaurants and hotels, he said.

See also:

-- Workforce training

-- The Training Place arms students with the skills to compete in today's job market

-- Training list

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