New skills for a better job

Losing a job can be a frightening, confusing experience.

But MEND’s classes, taught by volunteer teachers, can provide out-of-work adults with skills to help qualify them for good jobs, giving them a positive new direction.

David Kitchen, 55, found himself out of work when the company he worked for abruptly went out of business last year. “I had no idea what to do,” says the Canyon Country resident. When he looked for work, he was discouraged to see that many job listings required computer skills. “I didn’t even know how to turn a computer on,” he says with a laugh.

Then he heard about MEND’s computer classes and signed up for a beginner’s class taught by volunteer teacher Abraham Yazdi — and was amazed to find that he could actually understand the material.

“He taught me so much,” says David. “Taking that class was the best thing I could ever have done. I’m still using things I learned in that class. Abraham was so dedicated to teaching his students. He even came in on Christmas break to teach us.”

David was so inspired that he quickly advanced to complicated computer programs that many businesses use, such as Access, a data base management program, and Excel, which helps organize data.

In order to keep learning, David signed up for other computer classes offered in the Valley, but he quickly realized that MEND’s computer lab was more conducive to learning and getting the practice he needs. And he says, the individual attention he received from Abraham Yazdi was invaluable.

MEND’s computer lab is available to students who need to complete class homework, and volunteers and staff are on hand to offer guidance. “If you don’t have a computer, you can go there and work without interruption,” David says. “And if you get stuck, volunteers or Rubi Ochoa (MEND’s Computer Lab Coordinator) will help you — it’s the perfect study environment.”

David’s confidence has grown, and he looks forward to a reinvigorated job hunt. “Being able to do the hard stuff, I think it might give me an edge,” he says.

By Volunteer Nicole Gregory