New Round of ESL, Basic Computer Courses Start July 1; GED Also Available

DES MOINES – Central Iowans in need of English as a Second Language instruction and basic computer training can find help through two free courses starting July 1 at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

In addition, the society’s literacy center is offering assistance to people who are seeking a general equivalency diploma, said its director, Felipe Gallardo.

“As with a lot of things, often the hardest part is getting started. Our literacy center offers free assistance to people who want or need to get started on their GED. We’re also a resource for people who would benefit from more one-on-one assistance as they work on their GED,” Gallardo said.

He continued, “There are many people in this area who need help with their English skills but, obviously, it can be very difficult to get the message to them. In the past, we’ve found that employers will encourage some workers to take classes to help them grow and become more successful employees. I’d continue to encourage anyone who knows a person who could use instruction in these areas to let them know and also contact us.”

The ESL course will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The computer course will run from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays. Both courses will run 10 weeks at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, 1426 Sixth Ave. Registration for the ESL classes ends June 27.

Instructor Josh Winicki said the ESL course will provide the entry-level instruction. Students in the computer course will first learn fundamental operating skills before moving forward with instruction on sending email, conducting online job searches and applying for positions, and operating Word, Excel and PowerPoint, he said.

“Beginning to speak and understand English and developing even the most basic computer skills can help people clear two very high hurdles between them and getting ahead in today’s economy,” Winicki said. “These courses are great first steps to start a new life. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers them at no cost because we recognize what a difference maker they are in people’s lives.”

For additional information about the ESL and basic computer courses, contact Winicki at 282-8328, ext. 18. For information about the GED offerings, contact Gallardo at 282-8328, ext. 17.