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Baby Boomers Sharpen Their Skills With Tech Classes

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Experts say that sharpening your tech skills is a must in today’s workforce.

And several baby boomers are taking leaps with technology to make sure they’re on top of their game.

Dr. Charles Hand, from West L.A., has been a dentist for over 35 years. As CBS2’s Sharon Tay reports, not only has he kept up with advancements in dentistry, he’s made an effort to embrace technology in order to stay competitive in the dental business.

His computer system is set up to text message his patients appointment reminders and he uses social media to help generate referrals.

“On Facebook you have your friends talking about your doctors, your dentists, your plumbers even – and are they good? And why you should go to them? It works out very nicely,” he said.

Dr. Hand says it’s important to stay current with technology. He urges others like him to do the same.

“Start using it. It’s not that hard. You won’t break the computer,” he said.

If you feel like you’re faking it and you’re not as tech savvy as you should be, there are free and low-cost classes that can get you up to speed on the latest computer programs and social networking.

Marcia Wallace attends free computer classes every week, offered through the Pasadena Public Library system. She admits she struggles with computers, but she never loses faith.

“My generation was never introduced to the computer and then all of a sudden we’re expected to understand it,” she said. “We have to be friends, the machine and I.”

She’s learned to fill out her time card online and realizes baby boomers like herself who are still bringing in an income need to be tech savvy.

“A lot of people I know that are in the workplace go to computer classes at night just to keep up with knowing and learning and finding new ways to make their jobs easier,” she said.

Patricia Richardson teaches computer classes for a low cost at a career and job resource center called Women at Work in Pasadena.

“Our clients come in saying, ‘I’ve looked at job ads and it requires Quickbooks,’ or, ‘The job I’m looking for requires Excel,'” she explained.

She also helps students to demystify websites like Facebook.

“We also do social media. We have LinkedIn, there are some Facebook classes, Quickbooks and book-keeping classes,” she said.

Women at Work helps to train and find employment for both men and women who are re-entering the work force or those who simply need to sharpen their skills.

Teachers also serve as cheerleaders.

“They’re discouraged because their skills are old,” Richardson said. “I just keep trying to encourage them.”

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