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Office Professional Training program helps change lives

Posted on: Dec 2, 2014 1:00:00 AM
In: Grossmont
Campus Life
Contact: Lorena Ruggero (619) 644-7842

Residents 50 years old or older who are looking for work are encouraged to attend an upcoming informational session needed before enrolling in a free, hugely successful, Grossmont College program that provides students with new job skills and employment-seeking strategies. Job seekers can sign up for either a Dec. 4 or Dec. 10 session.

 The informational sessions are mandatory for those seeking to enroll in the next semester-long, Office Professional Training (OPT) program that starts Jan. 5. The Dec. 4 informational session takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Room 55-522 at Grossmont College, 8800 Grossmont College Drive, in El Cajon. The Dec. 10 session takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in Room 53-553 at the college.

 There is no cost to attend an informational session, but those interested in taking part must call (619) 644-7247 or (855) 850-2525, toll-free.

 OPT courses range from banking and accounting to Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel to job search strategies and resume writing. Students earn up to 20 community college credits in completing the classes.

 Graduates of the program say the OPT program changed their lives.

 “They gave me hope, they gave me confidence and they gave me the skills to get back to work,” said Therese Chrzan, a 52-year-old East County resident who was unemployed for almost two years after being laid off as a general manager at a fast-food company. After graduating from the OPT program, Chrzan quickly found work as an onsite manager for a San Diego-based property management company.

 Jamie Brown, 54, was laid off from her job as a heavy equipment operator on July 26, 2013, attended an informational session last winter and enrolled in the program this past January. The single mom of a 15-year-old found a job as an administrative assistant for a construction firm after graduating in June.

 “Besides providing you with all the skills you need to find a job in today’s job market, they are instrumental in helping you get your resume so that people will give you a second look and call you in for an interview,” Brown said. “It is an intense program, but it is worth every minute.”

 The OPT program was started under the federal Job Training Partnership Act, and then continued under the Workforce Investment Act. Nearly 2,300 students have graduated since its inception in 1985. Students have found careers in office management, financial services, insurance, among other fields, even during the recent recession.

 Enrollees must be dedicated to the effort. Courses are held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Grossmont College during the spring semester.

 Up to 50 people per semester may enter the spring program, which has an approximate value of $3,000 per student that is defrayed through grants and contributions from individuals, foundations, and government agencies, as well as various fundraising events.

For details about the OPT program, visit


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