Anne Arundel County Public Library and the Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation Partnership
Problem StatementPublic libraries help people locate jobs, write a resume, improve interview skills, research employers, apply for jobs online, and prepare for a job test. As a result of the recent downturn in the economy Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) has been flooded with people looking for job search assistance. Staff are strained to assist this increased number of job seekers who must rely on their public library for computers, the Internet, and for assistance in navigating this the online job search world.
Two Anne Arundel County organizations partnered to assist job seeking individuals in areas of Anne Arundel County unserved by Workforce Development One-Stop Centers. AACPL and the Anne Arundel County Workforce Development Corporation (AAWDC) launched an innovative partnership in 2009 with the shared goal of helping residents in the western and southern areas of the county find employment.
AAWDC sought to expand its services into areas without Workforce Development One Stop Centers and AACPL welcomed the opportunity to have their assistance in providing one-on-one job assistance to library patrons. AAWDC was enthusiastic about using an existing building, open days, nights, and weekends, stocked with job search resources, computers for public usage and located in the heart of communities they had not been able to fully serve.
For the pilot project, two Job Search Specialists (JSS) were hired and paid by AAWDC to work at the West County Area Branch. The JSS were scheduled for 20 hours per week . They showed clients the library’s comprehensive employment resources, helped them set up email accounts, directed them to library and AAWDC job seeker programs including training, and assisted with online job applications.
This pilot project was such a success that JSS were hired for other branches in the western part of Anne Arundel County: Maryland City Branch Library, Crofton Branch Library, and Edgewater Branch Library. JSS were also located at the South County Branch Library, another area unserved by a Workforce Development One-Stop Center.
Since October 2009, over 1700 individuals have sought help from the JSS working at five library branches. In addition, many more job seekers have availed themselves of workshops cosponsored by the library system and AAWDC, including 100 individuals who attended Demystifying the Federal Employment Process.
This partnership has been so successful that the Maryland State Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) is currently working with a statewide Library Administrator’s Task Force to promote the Anne Arundel County Public Library/Anne Arundel Workforce Development Corporation model of providing JSS to all other counties in the state. DLLR administration is excited about this tremendous opportunity to provide additional workforce development assistance to residents using library buildings and patron base.