« Back to Economic & Workforce Development

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System's Job Resources

Atlanta-Fulton Public Library
Go to Website
Innovation Leader: Gayle Holloman, Central Library Administrator, gayle.holloman@fultoncountyga.gov

Problem Statement

The economic downturn affected libraries nationwide by taxing limited services and forcing new thinking to enhance options to the newly or long-term unemployed. The unemployment rate in the City of Atlanta and Fulton County is 9.40%, above the U.S. average of 8.50%, and this showed itself in higher visitor numbers to the 34 libraries of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System, and especially the Central Library located in downtown Atlanta. More and more residents were coming to the library without the basic skills necessary to regain employment or look for other options in these trying times. While the Library System had always offered public computers and a range of classes, closing the loop on the cycle of unemployment needed to be addressed.

Innovation

Collaboration was key in providing help to job seekers and those wishing to enhance their existing skills. In an ongoing commitment to strengthening its quality of services, the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s Central Library partnered with Fulton County to implement, at no cost, a partnership between the library and the Office of Workforce Development by relocating the Central Fulton Resource Center (CFRC) within the Central Library – completing the circle of preparing for and finding a job in one convenient location.

The Central Library’s high-traffic Learning & Career Center has long provided ways for residents to improve work skills: public computers, free Wi-Fi, computer classes, resume preparation, job search skills, GED preparation courses and testing, English as a Second Language classes, adult literacy tutoring, small business workshops, tax seminars, and the new Georgia Work Ready assessment, a program to help job seekers gain new skills.

With the addition of the resource center, residents are matched to potential employers. Library patrons can meet with a job coach, receive access to employment opportunities, job search assistance, labor market information, career transition information, referral to training partners and service agencies and pre-employment assessments. The collaboration provides the ultimate in access and opportunity at one convenient location and is free and open to the public.

Progress

Since beginning its collaboration with Workforce Development last fall, the Central Library has served 4,085 patrons in just six months. Also, in the first four months of 2010, the Central Library’s Learning & Career Center presented 40 computer classes and registered over 200 participants to use the Georgia Work Ready / KeyTrain software.