Weather Forecast


Free computer classes postponed

Ever wanted to get in touch with your old friends on Facebook, set up a budget on your home computer or search for a new job online but you didn’t know where to start?

The Fond du Lac Band is offering more sessions of free computer classes for anyone from the local communities, no proof of income or heritage required.

Les Northrup signed up for classes earlier this winter because he’s taking a class at University of Minnesota Duluth and the course is mostly online — so knowledge of how to run a computer (even typing with two fingers) is a necessity. Northrup didn’t stop with the introductory class, he also took a class on how to sell on eBay and other online sale sites.

“The instructor really was well informed,” Northrup said, noting that the trainer handled a group of beginners and more advanced students with ease. “I told the Elders’ group it was a very good learning experience.”

Classes and open computer labs are held in the Fond du Lac Tribal Center, 1720 Big Lake Road, in the training room. Open Lab is a time to come in and speak with the trainer about any topic you may have questions about. This will also help the trainer know what future classes are of interest to the community, because the classes are continuing in March.

“We have 12 work stations and people can come in and work on accounting, social media, blogging, e-commerce, using a computer to get a job, whatever they’re interested in,” said MIS Technology trainer Diane Soden-Groves.

Soden-Groves explained that the classes and open lab sessions are free thanks to a grant from the Blandin Foundation, which has launched a Broadband Communities Program — the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was the first community selected to be part of the program in November 2012.

She stresses, however, that the classes are not only for Band members.

“We’re trying to help the whole community — Carlton, Cloquet, Esko — it’s not just for people who live on the reservation,” she said. “And there are classes for all ages. We’ve even got one for students, about how to present yourself online. And we can do more classes — we just need to know what people want.”

Unfortunately, the February classes have been cancelled because the instructor had to change her schedule. However, there will be classes in March or April, so people are still encouraged to suggest classes they'd like to see offered.

Contact Diane Soder-Groves with any questions at 218-878-7491.