Anyone who wants to improve his or her work skills can take advantage of local resources. Southern California's universities, colleges and trade schools offer a broad range of courses in continuing education that take into consideration the individual's needs. Classes are scheduled during days, evenings, weekends and, in some cases, at the work site. Many educational institutions offer counseling for those who are muddled about career goals.
Computer classes continue to be popular; every school in this survey offers courses in the subject, ranging from basic to advanced training.
Another growing trend is accent-reduction classes. Foreign-born professionals and their employers apparently have recognized a need for standard spoken English. Taking that a step further, some of the classes incorporate American gestures and body language.
Employees acknowledge that an accent may impede their chance of promotion, while employers want to reduce their employees' accents to improve customer relations. Some companies subsidize the school fee for their employees.
One major Southern California aerospace company requested that a university extend its accent-reduction courses to include the American-born with regional accents. Also, courses in American pronunciation are cropping up for those who intend to teach English as a second language.
The following list provides a sampling of what the schools have to offer in the way of job-training courses.
East Los Angeles Occupational Center is one of the five Regional Occupational Centers of the Los Angeles United School District. The center, which seeks to upgrade existing skills and retrain adults for career changes, offers classes including aircraft, auto and boat upholstery; auto body repair; business computer occupations, and machine shop, among others. Fees vary, and courses are free for some people. Call (213) 223-1283 for details. The center is at 2100 Marengo St., Los Angeles 90033.
Second Careers Program, a nonprofit project of the Volunteer Center of Los Angeles, concentrates on placing retired senior citizens desiring work in a full- or part-time capacity. Call (213) 380-3166 for more information. Second Careers is at 3923 West 6th St., Los Angeles 90020.
Trade and Technical Careers and Training, a handbook of accredited private trade and technical schools, includes a list of schools in California. The publication is free from the National Assn. of Trade and Technical Schools, 2251 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.
Career Transition Program offers a series of classes to explore options and alternatives. A partial list follows:
Job Options for the 55+. Oct. 24-25. Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-noon. Individuals: $90. Couples: $150.
Careers in the '80s: Options in Travel. Oct 10, 9 a.m.-noon. Fee: $40.
Job Search Workshop. Thursdays, Nov. 5-19, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Fee: $130. Call (213) 206-1955.
Career Counseling Center includes interviews, evaluation conferences, tests, post-testing career and educational counseling and a written summary. Fee: $585. Call (213) 825-2934.
Career Counseling Workshop has small group workshops, individual assessment and counseling interview. Fee: $295. Call (213) 825-2934.
Extension courses in the West San Fernando Valley have a free advisory service. Call (818) 992-0618.
For in-plant courses and seminars tailored to a company's needs and conducted on site, call (213) 825-4801.
There are a number of programs leading to certificates, such as studies in gerontology, fitness instruction, business and management and health sciences. A free advisory service for extension students is helpful in starting out. Call (213) 206-6201.
There are over 40 programs leading to business and management certificates and professional designations. Call (213) 825-7031. Also, the Business Management Program for Technical Personnel is designed for engineers and other technical personnel in, or preparing to enter management positions. Company-nominated applicants should call (213) 206-1548.
Hospitality as Fantasy: Restaurant and Hotel Design Symposium. Oct. 31, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Beverly Hilton Hotel. Fee: $125.
Starting Your Own Restaurant. Oct. 17, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fee: $75. Call (213) 206-8120 about the catering certificate.
Courses for careers in fashion. Call (213) 825-9061. There will be a fashion design orientation on Thursday beginning at 12:15 p.m. at the Downtown Center, 1100 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles.
Motion Picture and Television Arts and Sciences allows participants to choose a course of study, define or further career goals. Call the Motion Picture/Television Program at (213) 825-9064.
Making the Career Change Into the Entertainment Industry: Mastering Personal Obstacles, Competition and Protocol. Dec. 5., 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Fee: $100.
Professional Designation Program in Landscape Architecture offers a sequential curriculum for a professional career. Call (213) 825-9414 for program information and counseling.