CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There is a growing number of veterans who do not have basic computer skills, which keeps them from being able to access their benefits and/or seeking new opportunities.
Goodwill Industries of South Texas helps veterans such as Maria Zavala overcome these obstacles.
Zavala's dream is to become a nurse -- maybe even a doctor. But she needs to beef up her computer skills first.
Zavala joined the Army National Guard and served a tour of duty in Kosovo. She admits to having gotten off track in life before and after joining the service.
"I know where I wanted to go, and I guess for my career and all that," Zavala said.
After a friend of the family -- a nurse -- helped her see her way to a renewed faith in God, she decided to enter Del Mar College's nursing program.
Her computer class at Goodwill will help her pursue her dream.
"It's something new," she said. "A time for a new change here."
Goodwill provides free digital-skills training for veterans, dependents, and surviving spouses. They can earn certificates in basic computer skills such as:
- Internet Basics
- Completing online job applications
- Using email
- Microsoft Word
- Windows 10
Theresa Loera is one of the computer instructors at Goodwill. She said the first thing she tells veterans is that she is here to help, all questions are welcome, and the response is overwhelmingly positive.
"Once they get their first certificate and basic computer skills, their attitude completely completely changes," Loera said.
Goodwill received a $100,000 federal grant to help fund these computer courses for veterans.
Some of the money can actually pay for clothing and workwear for that new career opportunity.
For more information about the free computer classes for veterans and their families, please complete this interest form or call (361) 884-4068 ext. 60100 in you live in the Corpus Christi area.
Military veterans also can access laptops free of charge to aid them in online jobs and benefits searches at local libraries.
Del Mar College also offers a senior adult program that teaches basic computer knowledge. It provides and promotes educational opportunities and support services for a small fee.