As a case manager, you likely always strive to provide suggestions to clients that are practical and realistic. But if they lack digital literacy skills, you might want to focus on these foundational elements before recommending other important training work.
After all, if they are worried about the technical skills involved in completing academic programs, they won’t be able to take advantage of the government grants and other opportunities with which you can connect them. What’s more, they may not even have enough digital literacy skills to know whether to be worried or not.
It’s up to you to help your clients stay competitive in the current marketplace, regardless of what industry they are interested in pursuing as a career. Consider these strategies for assessing your client’s computer literacy and determine how to know if you are tech-savvy.
When working with a new client, start by determining their digital literacy skills. You don't want to start recommending programs that require skills they don’t yet have. Always remind them that they have the ability to learn anything if they put in the right amount of time and effort.
Check in with the online learning schools and programs you work with to see which skills are truly necessary. For example, your clients may need to know word processing and how to send an email. If that's the case, prioritize those skills, and save skills like spreadsheets and fast typing for later.
If you and your clients agree that they would like to enhance their skills, the next step is to agree upon a definition of tech-savvy. Create a list of skills they can work on with the help of free online tutorials from YouTube. These skills can include:
Feeling confident around a computer
Sending and receiving emails
Typing and saving a document in a word processing software
Creating a spreadsheet
Improving typing speed
Successfully searching for information using a search engine
Learning keyboard shortcuts
Engaging in social media
Making a digital presentation
Then, set benchmarks to track so they can see the improvement. The more they have to celebrate, the more they’ll strive to improve.
Some case managers have a tech skills assessment document that each client fills out during one of their first meetings. Consider looking at the digital skills needed for remote learning opportunities, as well as some careers. Make a checklist of skills and ask the client to rate their confidence from one to five.
This inventory will make it easier to assist them as they create the career of their dreams. Remind them that everyone starts somewhere.
If your clients are currently struggling with a lack of tech skills, they may have other non-tech skills that are worth highlighting. For example, if they consider themselves to be quick learners or have excellent critical thinking skills, that will help them as they navigate new digital territory online. Let them see that they already have a lot going for them.
Many case managers connect directly with MedCerts, which offers innovative remote learning programs and immersive technology that helps students boost their digital skills. Connect with the educational professionals of this American Jobs Center partner to see how together, you can help your clients land in-demand careers, regardless of the skills they start with.
As MedCerts National Director of Workforce Development, Jennifer Kolb is responsible for overseeing strategy and business development efforts at MedCerts with an emphasis on the k-career pipeline.
Prior to MedCerts, Jennifer served in several leadership positions at Tallo and Hawkes Learning where she built and lead sales and marketing, new product launches, technology development updates and an entire product relaunch to be ADA compliant.
Jennifer has spent a decade within the workforce industry working with educators, state leaders, business and industry officials, post-secondary institutions and grant organizations from across the country, all with the mission of bettering people's lives. Coming from a long line of educators and with a business-centered mindset, Jen is passionate about student success and cultivating creative strategies for ensuring all talent has access to educational and career-related opportunities.
Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing and Psychology with a focus in business management from Clemson University.