Some older Rock County residents are proving that it's never too late to go back to school.
The county's Jobs Center is launching a pilot program that is aimed at getting older workers get back into the job market.
It's been years since Beloit resident Rickey Dean went to school.
"I came from the pencil paper technology, not the computerized electronic age," admits Dean.
Dean and other students in a classroom at the Rock County Jobs Center are trading in those pencils and papers for a keyboards and computer mouse in hopes of landing work.
The Power Grant program is designed for workers facing long-term unemployment who are aged 55 years and up.
The current job market has not been kind to many in that age bracket.
"I do need work and it hasn't been easy," said Janesville resident Patricia Olson. "I've been looking for a couple of years and I need my skills updated quite a bit because everything is online."
The two week course brings in staff from Manpower to help seniors update their resumes and tackle topics like using email.
"I've used e-mails but I'm kind of from the old country, and I kind of like to do things on a person- to-person basis and do things eye-to-eye," said Janesville resident Karen Nelson. "I'm just kind of used to that, but I had worked on e-mail before and, believe it or not, I don't even have a computer at home."
Harold Luther, their instructor, said employers see the value in hiring older workers. With these additional skills, he feels that the sky is the limit.
"This is the only one of its kind and this is the first time we're doing it here in Rock County," said Luther, the senior coordinator of the Southwest Workforce Development Board. "It's an educational program that allows seniors to update a lot of their skills and actually gain degrees or certifications."
"It's a big stepping stone to get me ready to compete toward other people that's out here and knows this technology now," said Rickey Dean.
These seniors are indeed proving that it’s never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks.
The Rock County Job Center plans to continue the program until the end of the year. Those interested in more information should call 608-741-3400.