Shopping for Jobs, Groceries and Staying Connected Now Easier for Many in Knox County Thanks to Every Citizen Online

By COH Staff

Every Citizen Online (ECO) instructor Jessica Horlacher has been training Knox County adults on the basics of the computer and using the Internet since the program’s launch at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County. More than 125 first-time computer users have participated in the training program through the library thus far and Horlacher says although the majority seem to be between the ages of 60 and 90, there is a wide range in overall demographics and reasons for taking the training.

Horlacher’s July 26 class had 6 attendees, which included four senior citizens and Teresa and James Shuler, a couple in their 40s. The Shulers are both currently looking for a job and say they need to know more about the Internet in order to apply for positions. They just received a new laptop computer and use it to connect at a family member’s home and the local library. Both have dabbled on Facebook and have set up an e-mail account prior to the Every Citizen Online training.

“I read about (the training class) in the newspaper and signed us up,” said Teresa Shuler. “I’ve enjoyed learning how to use toolbars, the browser, and just how to use the computer in general.”

The Shulers are also utilizing their new connectivity to help the family save time and money.

“Now, we can look up Carnival’s weekly (grocery) ad before driving 30 miles to the Newark store in hopes of sales,” shared Shuler. “That’s a big help.”

William Vernon, a senior in the class, wants to catch up to his brother’s online communication knowledge.

“I already e-mail and want to learn to cut and paste and to add attachments to my e-mails,” said Vernon. “I’m a retired plant worker and like to e-mail former co-workers, other retirees, and family. My brother in Oklahoma City is an expert at this stuff and I need to catch up with him.”

Another senior participant, Melodee Hitchcock, is also seeking Internet knowledge to increase family bonding.

“My grandson loves to play RuneScape online and I want to be able to play along with him,” said Hitchcock.

Hitchcock has a computer and Internet at home and says the ECO training has helped her feel more comfortable using it.

“‘I’m a little more confident that I won’t mess up,” said Hitchcock. “Before, I was afraid I would freeze my computer during searches when no one was home to help me or that I wouldn’t know how to get out of something. Now, I don’t feel scared about that.”

All class participants said they felt they were leaving the class with a lot of useful information and new skills. Though the information can be overwhelming, the ECO classes prove to be a perfect first step toward computer and Internet adoption for many Ohio adults.

View additional photos from this training class on Connect Ohio’s Facebook page.

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