The IRC in Atlanta’s Adult Education team recently enrolled a second cohort of former refugees into their new Integrated Education & Training (IET) Microsoft Excel course, a nine-week program focused on teaching adult learners high-level Excel skills.
The students—most of whom previously took English classes with the IRC—spend nine weeks learning the ins and outs of Excel, best practices for remote working, and customer service skills. At the end of the course, students take the TOSA Excel Assessment and two students from our first cohort of four scored a perfect 1000/1000, earning them an expert certification!
The IRC’s IET Microsoft Excel course was designed specifically to meet emergent workforce needs—WorkSource DeKalb lists Excel skills as one of their top ten most listed job skills in job postings—and our Adult Education and Economic Empowerment teams partnered to create a course that would provide training to fill those roles with highly qualified new American candidates. The classes present not only a solution to the growing labor shortage, but also a vital opportunity for former refugees to practice their English while attaining new skills to help them advance their careers.
Shabnam, originally from Afghanistan, was one of four students in the first cohort. She shared, “I really enjoyed the Excel class. I want to use my Excel skills in the future. I think that I could use the skills I learned to gather information or organize the information and to play with data so we can use it in school, hospital, transport, warehouse, logistics company and so on. I am excited for future jobs where I can use my Excel skills!”
“Now that I completed this training, I feel encouraged to get better opportunities in my life in the US.”
Student Marbella, originally from Venezuela, shared, “I was pretty impressed with the new functionality I learned because I worked with Excel before, and I thought I already knew most of it! Excel is a powerful and valuable tool to use in many industries, and now that I completed this training, I feel encouraged to get better opportunities in my life in the US.”
While the first cohort of Excel trainees met virtually over the summer, the current cohort have been able to meet in-person every week thanks to the generosity of our partners at Refuge Coffee Co. in Clarkston, who offered their space as a temporary classroom. Led by the IRC in Atlanta’s Adult Education AmeriCorps Service Member, Katie Hibner, course participants are enjoying learning new skills through the program and—thanks to an exciting new partnership with Jake Shimota’s Excel Exercises website—have been getting plenty of hands-on experience! Katie shared, “Excel is something you absolutely must learn by doing. It’s hard to find practice exercises online and creating your own is time consuming. That’s why I’m so grateful to Jake for generously giving our students free premium access to his site, which smartly pairs step-by-step tutorials with practice prompts.”
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.