Wilton Continuing Education: Business, technology among popular offerings

In Wilton, continuing education classes are more than a way for residents to pick up the basic lessons of a new hobby. Between social media marketing courses and Microsoft Office 13 workshops, Dolores Tufariello, the coordinator of Wilton Continuing Education, said on Friday her programs are a way for small-town neighbors to help each other succeed and grow.

“We offer people a person-to-person way to learn,” she said. “It’s a small town, and we’re all trying to help each other become knowledgeable, and help them succeed in what they are trying to learn.”

Those who are rarely seen with an instruction manual in their hands, she said, will be especially happy with the style of instruction found throughout the continuing education course book.

“If you are of the type that does not want to read the manual, or do an online class, this is for you. Especially if you would like person-to-person contact in our private- to small-group settings,” she said. “You’re amongst your peers, and it’s a private lesson within a group environment. They come to learn, and they come to socialize.”

With technology evolving at a pace faster than many baby-boomers can keep track of, Ms. Tufariello said her program’s technology classes have been some of the most popular in recent years.

For those who want to try and keep up with the latest trends in the computer world, the coordinator said her instructors can help.

“Technology, it seems, is changing every week. There’s a new phone coming out every Friday!” Ms. Tufariello said. “But if you need to learn technology, and you need to come up to speed right away — for a new job, or for yourself — we can help you.

“Older people need to be trained a little bit on how to use this,” she said. “We can bring them up to speed on Windows 8, and Office 13, and the new wave of what’s going on in technology. We can help people understand: ‘No more desktops; just laptop-tablet-hybrids with cloud storage.”

For small businesses looking to keep up with their industry’s own technology trends, Ms. Tufariello suggested a new workshop about online marketing. Innovative Advertising through Social Media, she said, can help any small business achieve its marketing goals.

“We try to help small businesses by having them come to classes to help their business in town,” she said. “This one is about using social media to market your products and services using Facebook and Twitter. It really gives some clever tools for social media marketing.”

Another business-oriented class that has been popular lately, she said, is an eBay selling class.

“People are still very in tune with eBay,” Ms. Tufariello said. “People are trying hard to sell off things they don’t need anymore. They can get better pricing online than holding a public sale.”

Planning for the future is another topic that finds welcoming students at Wilton Continuing Education. Social Security planning and estate planning are two “tried and true” classes.

“Those individuals from the ‘Age of Aquarius’ are now entering the age of retirement! They’re really looking for Social Security planning options. That’s probably our most popular and attended business class,” Ms. Tufariello said. “Estate planning also attracts a wider range of students. No matter what age you are, you are interested in protecting your assets.”

Two classes on divorce, one new, and one returning course, should be popular this year, Ms. Tufariello said. The new course — Gaining Financial Control of Your Divorce — is a supplement to the Collaborative Divorce class offered during past years.

“Two attorneys teach the Collaborative Divorce class,” she said. “They help to make divorce a friendlier process. They try to drive down the cost of the divorce process by making it more collaborative, and filled with open communication so those parties do not incur additional expenses.”

Information: wiltoncontinuinged.org or 203-834-7694.