Montana BTOP and Workforce Partnership Trains Library Staff
According to a survey conducted a year ago by the Montana State Library (MSL), approximately 40% of public computer users were conducting job searches in our public computer centers at libraries across the state. As one of the partner organizations for the MSL Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), the Montana State Workforce Services Division, which operates Job Service Offices in 24 Montana cities, was the ideal partner to engage in an effort to offer training to library staff members to support their patrons. Montana has a public library in nearly every community in the state and Job Service recognized the impact and supports that library staff members could offer to patrons seeking job search and application assistance.
This September, Job Service and BTOP collaborated to offer a four part webinar series. The webinar titles included Job Search – How to Stand Out in a Crowd, Application Essentials, Resume Basics, and Interview Skills. An eager team of Job Service Workforce Consultants worked to create a quality product. The collaboration process began in June and the team met regularly through the summer. We started by designing a topic page on WebJunction Montana: Employment Resources and Training. Joyce Heser, a Workforce Consultant, agreed to write the overview page which included a list of links to important Workforce Services Division websites and on-line tools.
In addition to the overview page the Workforce Consultants selected existing Job Service documents they felt would be most helpful to library staff members, including Job Search Do’s, Job Application Do’s, Resume and Application Tips, and Interview Tips. Library staff can refer to these documents on the Employment Resources and Training page as often as needed or print and share them with patrons.
The Job Service team—Robbin Gard, Zanya Betley, and Bill Gilbert—then created PowerPoint presentations to be used in the webinars. We met several times to review the presentations and offer revision suggestions. All of the PowerPoint presentations with the notes were posted to the WebJunction Montana Employment Resources and Training page. During the webinars, the presenters emphasized that the PowerPoint presentations would be available on WebJunction, along with the archived webinars.
We were pleasantly surprised to see participants from sixteen states from Alaska to Virginia! We used this opportunity to promote WebJunction services across the country, reiterating that the materials could be viewed on the WebJunction Montana site.
The Workforce Services Division has been a valuable partner for the BTOP project and feedback provided by the Job Services team indicate the feeling is mutual. They are particularly enthusiastic about the new Employment Resources and Training page on the WebJunction Montana site. We are currently discussing two more webinar topics to be presented in 2013, based on feedback from attendees: How to Use Social Media in Job Searching, and How to Write a Cover Letter. We are looking forward to continued collaboration in an effort to provide Montana library staff these critical skills to improve services to their patrons.