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News Education Potential employees to offer skills to community

Graduates of Southwestern Community College’s Professional Office Management class are ready to share their skills with members of the Franklin business community. From left are, seated, Vaudie Shepherd, Barbara Grindstaff, first row, Terry Guest, Jennifer Gibbs, Robin Capen and instructor Trish Myler; back row, Donna Owle, Brandy Brown, Kristina Loughborough, Leslie Hughes. Not pictured, Michel Franc.Graduates of Southwestern Community College’s Professional Office Management class are ready to show local businesses how well they’ve done in class, and what effective employees they would be. Over a three-month period they’ve worked to sharpen their office management and computing skills in class. In fact, they’ve done so well that the class is going to be extended, as a “master class,” according to instructor Trish Myler. The students will be fine-tuning their skills using actual work provided to them by members of the Franklin business community.

“Perhaps a business needs to send out a personalized email to a large number of customers but isn’t set up to do that. Our students are adept at designing e-mails and creating and merging mailing lists that are crucial for a business,” Myler said.

Or perhaps a business needs receipt or invoice forms and rather than having to buy these, Myler’s students can help the business create its own master copy.

Myler continues, “Because this class has been so successful, our Master Class will be actively looking for businesses who would like to partner with us. We are looking for entrepreneurs and business persons who would like for us to do design work on things like flyers, correspondence, e-mailings, brochures, and simple take-out menus.

“We can provide someone with a great looking master document that they can then take back and duplicate for customers, use in their businesses, etc. It’s a win-win situation for the students and for Franklin businesses. The businesses get a nice looking document and our students get a chance to work on ‘real world’ projects. It’s also a great way for local businesses to see how well Southwestern Community College’s Continuing Education Division is preparing students for work. Consider this a chance to ‘test drive’ what great employees these students would be.”

“If a business needs to build its own personal template, rather than trying to fill in the blanks of a ready-order one, I can show them how,” said graduate Donna Owle of Cherokee. “I had some basic computer skills before I took this course but now I’m experienced in how to build a template from scratch, rather than just modify somebody else’s.”

“If there is a business that needs to learn Microsoft Office 2007 Brandy and I can show them tweaks and shortcuts,” said Barbara Grindstaff of Sylva. The mother-daughter duo took the class together.

For a business that needs a notary, graduate Terry Guest of Franklin is eager to use this skill he learned in class.

“I call this my dream class,” said Myler. “Each one of them has fantastic attendance, takes notes, asks thoughtful questions, is really serious about learning and always goes the extra mile. Each of them would make a great employee. Some already are employed and others are looking. It’s a tough economy out there but this class really gives them an edge.”

Professional Office Management is a 130-hour course that started in September and ended in December. Classes are held at SCC’s Macon Annex, located downtown behind the courthouse.

In the beginning sessions students learned how to maintain records efficiently, the basics of modern office equipment, and management of supplies, facilities and maintenance records. The program then focuses on computer skills starting with a basic course in Applications for Business Computer (ABC’s). The ABC’s provide computer foundation skills in file management, introductions to basic application software, internet and graphics.

Moving on to word processing, students learn many basic and intermediate functions. Students also learn spreadsheet programs and QuickBooks. The final two segments of the program include Notary Public Education and Employability Skills.

Additionally, students also learn master organizational skills, how to set priorities and solve problems, deliver excellent customer service and be a winning team member.

“Trish has a way of helping you understand even the most complicated things. Plus, she has helped me be courageous,” said Vaudie Shepherd of Sylva, who has been out of school 17 years. “I was a little scared in the beginning but Trish quickly helped me through that.”

Robin Capen of Franklin said, “I just thought I had computer skills! But this course has really taken me to a deeper level of understanding ... and skill base.”

For Jennifer Gibbs of Franklin this course got her excited about a career change. “I had been painting for a living but it was getting hard on my body so I’m going in a different direction and looking to work in an office, rather than paint it.”

Leslie Hughes of Franklin may also have a new career as a result of this course. Turns out she is really good with computers…not just using them, but trouble shooting and figuring how to fix them when something goes wrong. Hughes plans to continue her studies by taking online classes in computer repair.

Kristina Loughborough of Franklin said, “This has been a fantastic class. I have learned so much! I feel very confident now in my computer skills and this will enable me to get a great job. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone want to enhance their skill and employability.”

“All of these students have a unique set of skills,” said Myler. “They are skills worth sharing and that’s why we’ll be out in the business community offering their services and helping the students network.”

For more information, or for businesses interested in working with SCC’s Master Class students on a future co-op project, contact Trish Myler, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone Scott Sutton, director of extension education at SCC, 1-800-447-4091, ext. 4450 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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