Libraries Continue Job Seeker Support

Steph Harmon /

Image courtesy Spokane County Library

As libraries continue to support economic success in their communities, WebJunction remains committed to bringing you programming which showcases libraries who continue to innovate in their Workforce Services. This recent WebJunction webinar zooms in on a number of practical ways to provide career development services to job seekers. In No Job Seeker Left Behind: Library Services to Meet Their Need, we learn from two certified ALA Career Development Facilitators about strategies and easy-to-use tools that can be used to help members of your community prepare for and find employment.

In the first half of the webinar, Aileen Luppert from Spokane County Public Library starts out with an overview of how SCPL built in new support for job seekers. She gave some background on the ALA Career Development Facilitator certification program, which is an initiative of the ALA and the National Career Development Association. Aileen explained how, after completing the training, she researched her community’s needs and found that Millennials in her area were lacking in the soft skills and training that would better prepare them to apply for jobs successfully. These findings aligned well with her library’s strategic goals around workforce development, and she decided to get started with partnering with local nonprofits and state workforce development agencies.

Image courtesy of OCLC report - How Libraries Stack Up

With the help of these partners, Aileen saw there were a number of ways that her library could help create opportunities for young job seekers – including internships at the library itself – and that there was no need to reinvent the wheel. Working together with a local school, she developed a 4-week-long class focusing on preparing students to join the workforce. In this class, she drew on or adapted existing resources such as resume-building worksheets and cover letter examples. Class participants received thumb drives that were pre-loaded with templates and tools to help them create their resumes and cover letters. When they were finished with the class, each participant had a completed resume saved onto that thumb drive, which they could keep. Aileen is now training additional staff so they will be able to repeat the class and offer it more widely.

The second part of the webinar showcased Pima County Public Library’s Job Help ToolKit. Presented by PCPL’s Michelle Simon, Program Coordinator Business and Career Development Services, this set of tools is intended for frontline staff to use with library visitors. In addition to making a strong case for how providing job help impacts the library and strengthens the community, Michelle described how PCPL’s career development services range from structured computer classes to providing assistance with acquiring citizenship and self-employment initiatives. Michelle discussed how to find
out what patrons really need help with and how best to offer quality help – while juggling other requests such as reference questions and tech support. The toolkit offers easy and practical ways to get job seekers started with organizing their employment history information, determining and describing their job skills, and drafting an “elevator speech” to clearly articulate what they have to offer employers. You can find all the tools and templates described above – and much more! – on the webinar’s archive page.

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