Marion Technical College has wrapped up its month-long UpSkill-A-Thon competition. MTC collaborated with Microsoft Philanthropies to launch the Community Skills Initiative and to help jobseekers, professionals, and students gain new skills for in-demand roles in the digital economy.
MTC was one of nine communities selected to launch Community Skills Initiative websites and host UpSkill-A-Thons nationally. In total, there were more than 1,400 UpSkill-A-Thon competitors who earned more than 4,100 Career Essentials Certificates and certificates of completion.
The UpSkill-A-Thon is a free, online competition designed to engage community members and help the workforce become more prepared for in-demand roles in the digital economy. The UpSkill-A-Thon competition uses a suite of free online training resources that can be accessed locally through the Community Skills Initiative website.
“Microsoft UpSkill-A-Thon fell squarely into the mission of America’s Workforce Development Capital. Our goal is to upskill the current and future workforce and attract people to live and work in Marion County,” said Tami Galloway, America’s Workforce Development Capital program manager at MTC. “We believe that your opportunity lies in Marion County, Ohio whether you are an employee or employer. This Microsoft grant helped with that mission. We plan to build upon this success. This UpSkill-A-Thon has shown us that people are ready and willing to train in new areas, refresh in familiar areas and prove themselves.”
Chelsea Glezen said she and her husband participated as a team and had fun developing new skills in the competition.
“My husband and I were a two-person team and we had a lot of fun encouraging each other and talking about the things that we learned,” Glezen said. “My husband is interested in IT but hasn’t quite done any career exploration, so the LinkedIn Learning opportunity was good for him to get a glimpse of what the IT career field looks like and earn some certificates along the way. As for myself, I am currently in an administrative assistant role. The LinkedIn Learning Administrative Professionals pathway was a lot of fun because I got to test my knowledge from my own experiences, and I learned some new tips and tricks along the way to keep organized and manage my time more efficiently.”
Jeffrey Nagle and Jess Lamar Reece Holler combined to win the team category in the competition. Nagle said the training he received will help him going forward in his career.
“The soft trainings were invaluable in helping me recognize the skills that I have, and the specific ones were really useful in showing me the ways that my training and skills already do overlap with ones that are in high demand — something that was equal parts gratifying and inspiring for me to go out and figure out new ways to apply them,” Nagle said.
Nathan Wright, a customer service representative at First Citizens National Bank in Delaware, placed third in the 16 to 24 age group.
“I used LinkedIn Learning to take a bunch of online classes and I was able to learn a lot about coding,” Wright said. “Also, there were some management classes that I really found useful, especially right now. I’m working in a bank and going to school, so I’m looking to find some of the management skills to help build a team when I get to that spot in my career. So it was very helpful to learn some of those basic concepts.”
Brandy Page and Mandy Knight are friends and coworkers at MTC who competed in the team division. Page said they had fun working and learning together.
“We learned lots of professional skills like project management and entrepreneurship,” Page said. “It reinforced some skills we had learned before and really packed on some new skills for us. One of the biggest things for me was learning more about Microsoft, new features, new functions, and different things that I’m able to do in my workplace now. It was great.”
Participants in the UpSkill-A-Thon competition competed individually or in teams of two to four people, and the top winners in each of the three categories won cash prizes. UpSkill-A-Thon Competition categories and cash prize winners include:
16-24 years old
- $1,500: first place – Kayla Klugh
- $1,000: second place – Evan Hunsicker
- $500: third place – Nathan Wright
25 years and older
- $1,500: first place – Courtney Hendrix
- $1,000: second place – Ashley Stall
- $500: third place – Maria Light
Teams of 2-4
- $2,000: first place – Jeffrey Nagle and Jess Lamar Reece Holler
- $1,500: second place – Brandy Page and Mandy Knight
- $500: third place – Kelsi Vogel and Joshua Vogel
Although the UpSkill-A-Thon is over, the skilling opportunities will continue. All courses through the Community Skills Initiative website are free and available in English and Spanish through November 2023. To learn more about them, visit https://bit.ly/MTCUpSkill. Local employers, teachers, and churches are encouraged to share the CSI website as a resource for online training and upskill opportunities. Anyone can tap into the learning pathways and courses, including employers or individuals.