Staying up on the latest technology can be a laborious task — get behind on your Twitter account for one day and you can get left in the dust of the latest trends. With all of the tweeting, yelping and googling going on today, it’s understandable for less tech savvy folks to feel overwhelmed. But an understanding of social media and the Internet are essential in the modern job market.

The University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) senses these needs, and is addressing the issue by offering classes in how to use technology.

Somewhat ironically, the classes will be offered through an online course — but perhaps the online environment will help these technology newbies adjust to a new, necessary world.

Encore Career Institute, which raised raised financing of $15 million from VC firms Granite Ventures and InterWest Partners to begin their company, recognizes an increasing need to teach baby boomers new skills, rather than just allowing a younger generation to rise with a knowledge of technology.

The institute based their company on statistics: according to The Administration on Aging, one-fifth of the United States population  will be represented by Americans 65 or older by 2030.

And of those baby boomers, 35 million are hoping to pursue a second career in their older phase of life. So people like Steven Poizner, Encore’s chief executive and former technology executive and California gubernatorial candidate in 2010, believe a company like Encore Career Institute can have success and have an important influence in today’s world.

Poizner told The Chronicle of Higher Education baby boomers are an untapped job market for the higher education market. “A lot of boomers who have been able to survive this difficult economy still find their jobs are not necessarily satisfying, so they’re looking for an encore career,” Mr. Poizner said. (Hence, the name for Poizner’s company.)

Cathy Sandeen, dean of UCLA Extension, said the school’s partnership with Encore is an excellent opportunity for UCLA to find a nation-wide, large audience for its certificate programs already existing at the school, which were given to about 2,000 people in the former school year.

Like many American universities, Sandeen recognizes the need for UCLA to look to outside sources to grow online programs.

“In order to take what we’re doing and expand it dramatically, we will need to partner with a private entity,” she said in The Chronicle of Higher Education article.

According to SFGate, the Encore program will offer job-retraining classes in addition to certificate programs. The programs will focus on job markets appealing to baby boomers, including finance, education, health care and environmental sustainability.

For UCLA, which is greatly in need of program funding, the partnership will be beneficial, as Encore will also be partnering with the world’s largest sports and talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, to market the online programs.

Classes will be available at UCLA Extention through Encore in fall 2010, with tuition estimated to be $5,000 – $10,000 per year.

 

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