Library Partnerships with Workforce Agencies
The people impacted by tough economic times need help with government unemployment services and they often turn to their local libraries for support and direction. There are about 3000 One Stop Centers in the U.S. There are over 16,000 public libraries, most of which already offer job and career information, education resources, and public computers. The potential for partnership between these institutions is ripe.
What libraries have to offer
Linda Strong, of the North Carolina Workforce Administrator, articulates some advantages that libraries have in association with workforce agencies:
- longer and more convenient hours than onestops, which are generally open only 9 – 5
- better technology in the libraries
- better facilities with classrooms and meeting rooms, public computers and wireless connections
- the opportunity to connect with the newly jobless professionals (a new audience for onestop services)
- activities for children
- electronic and hard copy resources, which are a good accompaniment to the workforce system resources
Examples of partnerships by state
The Pima County Public Library (PCPL) and Pima County ONESTOP Career Centers formed a partnership to create programs and identify technology-based solutions to meet the needs of the community’s growing displaced worker population. In the Job Help program, the partners coordinated their efforts to address the unique needs of their community. Partnership activities included:
- PCPL purchased the same résumé software that ONESTOP uses;
- Library staff drew on ONESTOP’s employability classes to design the library’s own version;
- Both partners trained computer instructors and computer-savvy youth on the résumé software and had them deliver the classes at eight library branches. To account for the linguistic diversity of the targeted population, some of the instructors speak languages other than English, including Spanish and Arabic;
- Another component of JobHelp was setting up designated laptops in meeting rooms specifically for use by dislocated workers. These computers are exempt from regular time limits on use.
Contact: Beth Matthias-Loghry, Beth.Matthias-Loghry@pima.gov
Jefferson County Public Library in Colorado has been partnering with the Workforce Center there in providing E-Train, a service designed to help job seekers enhance their job search and build valuable skills. The eTrain is a mobile training lab, equipped with all the computer stations, valuable databases and knowledgeable staff needed to assist with career-building.
The Connecticut State Library partnered with the state Department of Labor and organized six workshops for library staff. These half-day free sessions highlighted state Department of Labor resources, local and state job listings, CT JobCentral and other information. The workshops covered resume and cover letter strategies, job search and career exploration, and resources available through the public workforce system.
Contact: Sharon Brettschneider, Connecticut State Library
Florida Libraries Collaborating with One-Stop Career Centers is a slide presentation outlining a project to help patrons use e-government resources to find and apply for jobs. One Stop Center staff and library staff combined their expertise about the programs and services each had available for job assistance, resume writing and training. One Stop Center staff provided a series of resume workshops at the library, including one-on-one reviews. Library staff promoted the workshops and helped patrons navigate the Employ Florida database. Mobile One Stop RVs parked outside library branches to provide assistance to patrons.
Contact: Nancy Fredericks, E-Government Librarian, Pasco County Public Library, FL
In 2009, the Georgia Public Library Service entered a partnership with Georgia Work Ready, an effort launched from the Governor's Office of Workforce Development. Across the state, 39 library sites offered computers and trained staff to advance the skills and job-readiness of Georgia's workforce.
The Indiana State Library partnered with Department of Workforce Development (DVD). The DVD provided staff training, a computer loan program, and part-time unemployment specialists placed in libraries.
Contact: Jake Speer, Library Development Director, Indiana State Library
Public Libraries and One Stops
New York state has a solid history of partnering with other agencies and providing services to the workforce. Collaborative efforts with the Department of Labor include:
- One StopCenters
- Career Zone Portal
- Smart 2010 skills matching software technology
- Joint Webinar with NYSL and regional libraries
The State Library of North Carolina designed and implemented a series of workshops across the state to educate library staff about resources available to help patrons with job search and related needs. In the delivery of the workshops, they invited delegates from the local workforce agencies to participate in community panels, which gave the agency the opportunity to explain the programs offered for job assistance and to interact directly with the library staff.
Contact: Jennifer Pratt, Library Development Director, State Library of North Carolina
The Rhode Island Office of Library & Information Services (OLIS) established a key partnership at the state level with the Department of Labor & Training (DLT) to address workforce needs. Together they determined what each had to offer for more efficient delivery of resources and services.
Outcomes of the partnership:
- EmployRI: an online resume development and career research tool made available in libraries
- OLIS makes AskRI databases available at NetworkRI One Stop Career Centers
- Learning Express: test prep and tutorials
- ReferenceUSA: US Businesses
- DLT Trainers run sessions for librarians
- DLT hold sessions at libraries
- When the floods hit, the DLT scheduled sessions at libraries to inform residents about resources for flood victims.
Contact: Karen Mellor, OLIS
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development trained 65 librarians from 45 public libraries and created ob Training Centers in six public libraries.
JOBS Start at your library
In an effort to assist the public library community in responding to the economic situation that has affected families and individuals across the state, DLTCL initiated a LSTA category in 2009 called "JOBS-Searching, Training, and Support." All 17 projects resulting from the grant funding have some interaction with their area Job Service Centers and Workforce Development/Investment Boards.
Contact: Barbara Huntington, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
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