S2E4: Spring into Digital Skills Classes

Note: What’s Good, Goodwill? is produced for the ear and designed to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that’s not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors.

(Music fades in)

(Music fades out) 

Michelle: Hello, and welcome to another episode of What’s Good Goodwill, the podcast, where we share the good in the inland Northwest. I’m your host, Michelle.

Alicia: And I’m Alicia.

Michelle:  So we got new microphones. Eventually you’re going to see the What’s good studio. But right now we’re still pretty

Alicia: We’re scared.

Michelle: We’re camera shy. Speaking of camera shy, guess who isn’t camera shy?

Alicia: Brad Pitt

Michelle: Representatives heading to Goodwill on the Hill.

Alicia: Oh, yeah, that’s a better answer.

Michelle: You may be wondering because you’re new.

Alicia: What is Goodwill on the Hill?

Michelle: I’m here to tell you. So this month, more than 100 representatives from local Goodwill organizations across the United States, including executives, board members, program participants and other advocates, will meet with members of Congress and staff for Goodwill’s annual Goodwill on the Hill.

Alicia: That’s pretty cool.

Michelle: It’s a big hill.

Alicia: That’s a big hill.

Michelle: A big hill.

Alicia: Clerk Brekkie,  president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Inland Northwest.

Michelle: Hey, that’s us.

Alicia: That’s us. Will be attending and will meet with representatives from Washington State and Idaho to advocate for the issues that affect our region and the people we serve.

Michelle: This event provides a great opportunity for the Goodwill network to come together with one voice to educate lawmakers and staff about goodwill, equipping them with the information they need to make informed decisions when drafting legislation and policies that affect Goodwill and the people and communities we serve.

Alicia: Well, how can people, Michele, tell us how people can follow along on this Goodwill on the Hill?

Michelle: If you’re interested in seeing all the pictures and seeing video clips. You can follow along with hashtag Goodwill on Hill.

Alicia: So where are these hashtags located? I mean, I’m thinking about like, what if somebody is not like myself, not as in-tune with social media, with a hashtag? Where do I put that? Do I put it in Google?

Michelle: When I was doing the research for our episode today, talking about Goodwill on the Hill, I typed in hashtag goodwill on Hill. And it did. It pulled up all the information in Google.  Onto da Googles.

Alicia: Yeah, I learned a thing today.

Michelle: Digital skills are important.

Alicia: Yes, they are. And speaking of digital skills, what a great segway. I had an opportunity to sit down with our digital skills instructor here at Goodwill in downtown Spokane named Mike, and he talks about the classes that he that we offer for anyone. It could be.

Michelle: Is it,  is it your favorite f word? Is it free?

Alicia: It is free. Free classes, Free digital classes. Anything from personal budgeting, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint like those kind of applications. And he let me know that there’s a social media basics class.

Michelle: I was about to say so, you know, when you’re looking where to use that crazy thing called a hashtag.

Alicia: Yeah, I think I will be one of those team members that attends the social media Basics class. And I had I had asked him if he teaches Tik Tok trends because I don’t get it. I don’t get it and I want to get it.

Michelle: Yeah, I don’t I don’t dance, but I don’t think my can help me learn how to dance.

Alicia: Maybe.

Michelle: Maybe. Maybe we both need to attend that class so that we can see.

Alicia: Maybe have a little faith in Mike’s dancing.

Michelle: Hey, man. I know Alisha is always about the dance party, So however we can incorporate a dance party into something, it’s a dance off.

Alicia: Every day I ask, I come in to work. Is it a dance party today? No.

Michelle: She appears in my doorway and she’s like, Dance off. I’m like, No, it’s like one of those dogs that are like, play. And she’s like, Dance off. I’m like, No, no.

Alicia: Occasionally when I do come in, though, Michelle will congratulate me just for showing up, which I love, and she’ll play some really epic music on her phone to encourage me to continue.

Michelle: Not everybody can wake up at 330 like me. Ready and raring to go for the day.

Alicia: Definitely not me. I’m not a morning person.

Michelle: So I’m excited. Let’s take a listen to what Mike had to say.

Alicia: All right.

Mike: My name is Mike and I’m the digital skills instructor, and I teach basic computer classes here at the downtown Goodwill.

Alicia: What does that mean? Digital skills Instructor.

Mike: Yeah, just basic computer classes. I teach everything from how to turn the computer on to what a mouse is all the way up to the Microsoft Office. We teach classes on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, that type of thing.

Alicia: How did you become qualified to become a digital skills instructor? What was your what was your route that you took here?

Mike: Well, teaching I was teaching at Eastern Washington University,  I got my master’s in creative writing, so not really computer based, but I was teaching at UW and then I was an adjunct at Gonzaga in the English department. I was also teaching as a substitute in Spokane Public schools. So I teach all sort of classes, including computer classes. I also worked, you know, in the special education classes as well.

So I had some experience with that. And, you know, I just you know, I grew up I’m a millennial. I grew up in the time of computers transitioning from desktops to laptops to social media to having a computer. Exactly. Yeah. I’ve seen, you know, every step of of of the technology journey.

Alicia: It’s crazy to remember how fast computers were like, Oh, yeah.

Mike: Like the original Macs when I was in elementary school in the eighties. And yeah, we had like these original Macs that were.

Alicia: Oh, wow.

Mike: Where we played like number Chompers or what?

Alicia: I remember having a computer class in middle school and it was, you know, learning how to type really fast. And we learned each HTML. We had to all be wow and websites and naturally we all put like the most ridiculous backgrounds, all the craziest graphics jokes, all the most glittery fonts, and wow.

Mike: Well, MySpace helped a lot with that. I remember if you were there for the MySpace craze, but oh.

Alicia: I was there.

Mike: We had all learn HTML to decorator pages.

Alicia: And we all thought we were like, yeah, stuff and just type in.

Mike: Like we’re.

Alicia: In.

Mike: Butterflies on our base.

Alicia: You have a bit of a background in teaching, right? Why did you choose Goodwill. What made you come over to Goodwill?

Mike: I feel we share the same mission. I’m passionate about education and giving back to my community, and I feel I can do both here at Goodwill. So I was excited to join.

Alicia: Can you explain to me what what are the digital classes you kind of talked about, the range of what you do teach, what a mouse is, how to turn on the computer, those basic fundamentals, and then into the program. So can you dive in some more about what what digital skills classes are?

Mike: Oh, yeah. Like, you know, we start from the very beginning, You know, how to turn the computer on. You know what the mouse does? You know what the hard drive is for, what the operating system is for, what are different operating systems, you know, for Android Mac and Windows, you know, that we go into, you know, what’s the Internet had, you know, what was the point of the Internet?

Mike: How did it come about? How to use the Internet, how to stay safe while using the Internet so you don’t get, you know, fall victim to common scams and things like that that a lot of people are worried about these days. And pop. Yeah. How to avoid pop ups and you know what emails use for it teach an outlook class how to use outlook again how to avoid email scams.

Yeah and then I get we get into the Microsoft’s, you know suite workshops you know you know PowerPoint how to give a presentation, which is if you’re going to be taking a college class, you know, as a college teacher, you know, that was really important. You know, even in high school, you know, word pretty much every business, every office job I’ve ever had, I’ve used word even to make a resume or cover letter, you’re going to have to know how to use word.

So that’s really important and excel. You know, every job I’ve had, I’ve used Excel in some form or fashion. So you kind of get to know these things for pretty much any job, even in your daily life. You know, we also teach a social media class because, you know, computers are just a natural part of everyday life now. And that’s an extension of your social life.

Alicia: Is that social media class? Is that pretty new or have you always.

Mike: No, actually, I just made that class and I made the social media class and I made a personal budgeting class.

Alicia: So are you an expert on social media?

Mike: I could say that I spend a lot of time on social media, so I’m a self-professed I’m a self-professed expert. It’s just the basics for people who have never been on social media. So, you know, if you’ve never if you don’t know what Facebook is and you never been on Instagram and you’ve never heard of.

Alicia: What about Tik Tok? Do you teach people how to do Tik Tok trend?

Mike: That’s the that’s the advanced class and I haven’t gotten there yet. We will do Tik Tok dances.

Alicia: Well, I will definitely sign up for the Tik Tok one.

Mike: Excellent.

Alicia: I’m a scroller. I scroll through Tik tok and I find some jutsu, but no idea really how to use it.

Mike: Yeah, my rules. I just. I teach here and I also do outreach. So part of this, you know, podcast is me doing some of that outreach. You know, go to the library every other Friday, central library downtown to try to drum up some business. Yeah. Try to get the word out.

Yeah, these classes are available to everyone. It’s free to everyone in the community. So we have a lot of folks that are retiring or retired who kind of miss the whole computer craze and, you know, for whatever reason and are wanting to get into it now because now they want to connect to family and friends that they haven’t seen or, you know, maybe they want to start like a little eBay business or something on the side.

Who I was, I was teaching, you know, in college, in high schools. And, you know, they think of Facebook as something that their parents do or and so that’s past They even you know, they’re on Snapchat, they’re on Tik Tok. Those are the big ones. Even Instagram’s kind of getting old.

Alicia: Wow.

Mike: Yeah. So if you are trying to talk to a zoomer, don’t mention you’re on Facebook. You will instantly be uncool. Tell them you’re on Tik tok or snap and snap them something asking for their snap.

Alicia: So besides classes and you mentioned that you do outreach, are there any other resources that you connect people with?

Mike: Oh, yeah. We actually have this program called Google Connect. You know, Goodwill. And Google’s goal is just to get everyone connected. It is such an integral part of of life these days, be on the Internet and have a computer. We also have new a Google certification program starting up will where on Coursera you can get Google certificates and things like data analytics, digital marketing, one of those there’s like a few other tracks getting used.

You might be interested in that. Yeah. And you know, guess what? It’s open not only to everyone in the public, it’s also open to employees of Goodwill. It’s usually 40 bucks a month, but we give out scholarships for it, so then it’ll be free. Yeah, they have one of the tracks. Is it. Get a Google. It’s certificate. And these are tracks made by Google because they didn’t have enough people applying for these jobs and they have these jobs openings.

They want to to give people an alternative who maybe didn’t go to college or didn’t get the right type of degree when they were in college. So now they can go back and get these certificates and be employable, making 60 grand or more. These jobs are going for that type of wage. So 60 grand or higher. So the good thing is that they are jobs that are open, that they don’t have enough people in and that pay pretty well.

Alicia: So how many classes can somebody take? You mentioned that classes are for anyone in the community and anyone member. So how many is there a limit on how many someone can take?

Mike: I have ten classes that I that we have that are ongoing. They go in like two weeks segments, you know, the first five, then the next five, the next week, and then it just keeps going like that. But yeah, it’s open and you can come as many times as you want. So if you come the first time, especially for more of the advanced classes like the Excel class, especially if you came in, you know, you didn’t totally get it the first time, that’s fine. Come back and I’ll go over it again with you.

Alicia: And I showed up to every single class. Yeah, like six months straight.

Mike: You could do that.

Alicia: And then I was like, You know what? I’m going to be the digital skills Instructor now.

Mike: And then you have to. You have to do it.

Alicia: Me?

Mike: Yeah, that’s how I got the job.

Alicia: I have to do it.

Mike: Generally it’s hand-to-hand combat, but if you win, then you get the job. So that’s the good news. But if you lose, I have no doubt no one’s beat me yet, so we’ll see.

Alicia: I’ll see if I have the energy for it. So where are these classes?

Mike: They are 130 East Third Avenue and downtown Spokane, Washington. Right behind the retail store. There’s the entrance on the side where it’s like the brick building area. And you just go in there and you let the receptionist know that you want it. You’re here for the classes and it’s on the second floor. I usually come down, get students before the class starts.

Alicia: Do people have to sign up in advance and let you know, or can they just show up when the class begins?

Mike: Yeah, I do prefer that people let me know, because sometimes, especially in the afternoon, because I teach classes twice a day at 930 in the morning than at 2 p.m.. So especially the second one, sometimes I’ll cancel that if I have no participants. And also the receptionist down at the first floor wants to know who to look for and who’s coming.

Alicia: Another way that people can see what upcoming classes to attend. There is a calendar on our website, discovergoodwill.org and on that calendar I list all the classes that are available to take.

Mike: So I appreciate that.

Alicia: So in your own words, why would this benefit someone?

Mike: I mean, again, computer knowledge is important and vital for just everything you do these days. For every job you’re going to get to even trying to apply for the job to, you know, banking, paying bills, even social media like dating, everything you do these days is all going to be online. So you got to know how to navigate the web.

Alicia: Is there a favorite story or a favorite memory that you want to share?

Mike: One story I had a participant come and, you know, they were retiring and they hadn’t spoken to family members on the other side of the country in Boston in a while. So they reconnected to another part of their family. And I just thought that was great. You know, this is showing, you know, how important computers are because you can talk to them in years And now you talk to them almost every day.

Alicia: It’s awesome.

Mike: Yeah. And that was just easy as setting up a Facebook account.

Alicia: I was going to say. If it was Facebook, of course, how many stories you hear about people reconnecting with, you know, like long lost family members because they.

Mike: Exactly.

Alicia: Facebook.

Mike: Yeah. I met cousins that I didn’t know I had in New Jersey.

Alicia: And so anything you want to add to our listeners out there in the digital world?

Mike: Yeah. No, if you have any ideas, I’m always making new classes. So if there’s anything you want to learn and I’m not teaching, let me know. I can try to make a class around it. That’s how I created the social media and personal budgeting classes as people were like, Oh, I really want to know how is the feedback.

Alicia: You got the feedback asking for it. Exactly. Nice. Yeah. All right. Well, you know, these are classes.

Mike: It’s always in. I’m always trying to update or create something new.

Alicia: So submit your ideas. Yeah. And I’ll be submitting the Tik Tok trend.

Mike: There you go.

Alicia: So go ahead and add on.

Mike: Whatever you think.

Alicia: Well, thank you again so much for joining today. I appreciate.

Mike: Yeah, no problem.

Alicia: It’s springtime and we are defrosting. We are getting warmer and warmer closer and closer to warmer weather. And Michelle, if there’s anything you know about me, I love the heat.

Michelle: She does. Her office is like a furnace. My office. I’ve got fans blowing and I’m like, you know, I’m sweltering. Yeah. And Alicia’s a lizard person.

Alicia: And I wear, like, 15 sweaters. That’s true. In the heat.

Michelle: Well, she’s got one of those fancy vest that you can push the button. Yeah, and it heats up.

Alicia: Yeah, that vest. That saved my life in winter, Michelle. Yes, it is spring time. And you know what that means?

Michelle: Spring break?

Alicia: Spring break.  Do, you know what spring break means for adults like us? No, we don’t get to do fancy partying. No, we don’t get to go to Florida beaches. We get to clean.

Michelle: Clean your house, clean your

Alicia: Room, clean your office, clean your car.

Michelle: I’ve heard some people and if you’re listening, this may be you. I’ve heard some people have donations in their trunk and they’ve had donations in their trunk for more months. And they may or may not like to admit.

Alicia: Yeah, I really am embarrassed to admit this, but I in my defense, it was during winter, I was too cold. But I had some donations in the trunk for a handful of weeks. I’m not going to admit to how long exactly. And I work here. I work at Goodwill.

Michelle: You no longer need the weight in the back of your car because it’s no longer slick and icy. You no longer need that weight in the back of your trunk anymore. Alicia, where can you take those delightful bags of items from your trunk?

Alicia: You bring them to us.

Michelle: Donating to goodwill.

Alicia: Stop them collecting dust. Give them to us. That should be a slogan.

Michelle: What?

Alicia: Stop your items. Collect from collecting dust. Come on, give them to us. All right. I’ll work on it. I will fine tune it and then re-presented at a later date. But you know where I’m going with.

Michelle: Do you know who has a better slogan than you do?

Alicia: No one.

Michelle: Well, I’ll fight you about that later. But we have Matt Paxton, host of Legacy List with Matt Paxton on PBS

Alicia: PBS

Michelle: PBS, the people’s channel. He sat down with Goodwill to talk about spring cleaning.

Alicia: I’d like to hear what this Matt Paxton has to say. I’ll be the judge of if his slogans better than mine.

Michelle: Matt, take it away.

Matt: No matter how you approach spring cleaning, one thing is true we can all do with a little less so that others can have a little more. Hi, I’m Matt Paxton. I’ve spent my career helping people de-clutter so they can keep the memories and let go of the stuff. There’s no better time than spring to finally tackle that packed closet.

The items rolling around in your trunk, or even all the things stuffed under your bed. The best part Your donations can help others achieve more. Make maximum impact with your stuff by donating to an organization that aligns with your personal mission. Goodwill has a great community impact. When you donate to Goodwill, your stuff will be sold to help fund job placement and training opportunities for people in your community. And remember, less is definitely more. Clean out your stuff. Donate help people train for new opportunities.

Alicia: All right. Matt Paxton. So his website has a bunch of great tips like how to start decluttering your home and 20 things to declutter right now.

Michelle: Right when?

Alicia: Right now. Yes. And when you donate, you change lives right here in the inland northwest. Well, thank you all so much for joining us on this episode of What’s Good, Good. Well, we’ll see you next month.

Michelle: You know, what’s good?

Alicia: What?

Michelle: Digital skills.

Alicia: We need to have a digital skills theme song.

(music starts playing)

Michelle: Digital skills.

Alicia: Huh?

Michelle: Digital skills

Alicia: Digital skills.

Michelle: Spring cleaning

Alicia: Digital skills. Clean your room, digital skills, clean your car.

Michelle: We’d like to thank our guests today Matt and Mike.

Alicia: And don’t forget to look out for our Grammy.

Michelle: Coming soon to any place you listen to podcasts.

(Music fades out) 

Michelle Hey, if you’re hearing this message, you’ve listened to our new episode all the way to the end. And for that, thank you.

Alicia And don’t forget to keep up with what’s good by following us on Social Media, on Facebook, @INWGoodwill, Instagram @Goodwill_INW, Twitter @GoodwillINW and TikTok @GoodwillINW.

Mike: Three Tomatoes are walking down the street, The Mama Tomato. The Poppa Tomato and the baby Tomato. The baby tomato starts lagging behind. So the daddy tomato goes back, squishes him and says, Ketchup.


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