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Workforce Development and Libraries

The Office of Commonwealth Libraries' Library Services and Technology Act five-year plan identifies workforce development services as a priority.  The Governor's Advisory Council endorsed this work in July 2017 by resolving to:
  • Encourage public libraries' efforts to work with workforce investment boards in order to advance workforce development for employers and job-seekers in Pennsylvania.  

PAsmart

PAsmart is a workforce development initiative that connects Pennsylvanians with resources for working and training. It supports Governor Tom Wolf’s goal to increase the number of workers with postsecondary training from 47 percent to 60 percent by 2025. In 2018-19, $30 million has been appropriated for a new competitive PAsmart grant program. 

Libraries may be eligible to participate in the PAsmart grant program.  The Office of Commonwealth Libraries will share news about the PAsmart grant program as it becomes available.

Also, as part of PAsmart, Governor Wolf has asked the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board (PA WDB) to focus on effective delivery of workforce development services by cutting red tape and improving coordination among state agencies. The Governor’s Advisory Council on Library Development is one of fourteen agencies that the PA WDB will be working with to develop statewide policies that improve workforce development alignment and outcomes.
 

Workforce Development Service Survey

In 2017, OCL conducted a public library survey about workforce development services.  Top-ranked library 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 might want to know about:
Here are some recommendations about how libraries can collaborate with local agencies:
  1. Be familiar with your community'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 nearby libraries that are located in your LWDA.
  3. Meet with your local Workforce Development Board’s (WDB) executive director. Introduce
        yourself and the libraries in the LWDA’s geographic area.
    • Tell them about the services that your library provides to job seekers and employers.
    • Discuss how you can participate in the WDB’s planning process.  Could you make
         a presentation to the WDB or be part of planning meetings?
    • Discuss how you can help make local workforce development services more accessible
         and cost-effective. Here are some ideas:
      • In northwest PA, mobile CareerLink services have been implemented.  Libraries
            could be a site to obtain these services.
      • Montgomery and Bucks WDBs provide libraries with funds to purchase
            LearningExpress, an online educational resource.
      • In some LWDA’s, librarians have been asked to serve on the local WDB, or
            are part of a WDB committee.