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Workforce Development and Libraries

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries (OCL) has identified workforce development services as a priority goal in its five-year Library Services and Technology Act plan. The plan says OCL will work to:
  • Develop and improve workforce development services and community organization collaborations in all types of libraries for individuals of all ages.  
The Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) also endorsed this work in July 2017 with the following resolution. The GAC wishes to:  
  •  Encourage public libraries’ efforts to work with workforce investment boards in order
     to advance workforce development for employers and job-seekers in Pennsylvania.

Public Library Workforce Development Services

To establish the current level at which public libraries provide workforce development services, OCL conducted a survey in April 2017.Top-ranked services were: 
  • 100% provide Internet access (desktop and Wi-Fi); 29% lend laptops or tablets;
  • 70% provide online resources on subjects such as careers and occupations, text
    preparation, and job-search skills;
  • 50% hold classes on computer job-search skills; 39% hold classes on resume writing or interviews; and
  • 31% hold classes on planning for educational expenses.
Learn more about the survey results:
 

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

The 2014 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) specifically identifies public libraries as possible partners for One-Stop Career Centers (known as CareerLinks in Pennsylvania).  Here is some background information on WIOA:
 

Developing Workforce Agency Partnerships

Libraries have unique assets that local workforce development agencies can use:
Here are some recommendations about how libraries can collaborate with local agencies:
  1. Be familiar with your library’s Local Workforce Development Area(s) (LWDA). (See the map of LWDA’s from the PA Workforce Development Association at: https://www.pawork.org/about-us/pennsylvanias-local-workforce-system
  2. Coordinate your communications with area/nearby libraries that are also located in the LWDA.
  3. Get to know your local Workforce Development Board’s (WDB) executive director. Introduce yourself and the libraries in the LWDA’s geographic area.
    •  Let them know about your libraries’ unique assets and the services that you already provide to job seekers and employers.
    • Discuss how you can be a part of the WDB’s planning process Might you make a presentation to the WDB? Might you be part of planning meetings?
    • Discuss how you can help them make local workforce development services more meaningful and cost-effective. Here are some ideas:
      •  In the northwest and northeast areas of PA mobile CareerLink services are being explored/implemented. Libraries are mobile service sites. (Note: WDB’s must meet tight ADA accessibility guidelines. So, any library sites must be accessible for those who have disabilities.).
      • In Montgomery and Bucks counties, libraries have a two-year funding commitment for an online resource (LearningExpress) from their local WDB’s.
      • In some LWDA’s, librarians have been asked to serve on the local WDB, or are part of a WDB committee.