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CareerConnect: Education & Job Training Centers

Broward County Library (BCL)
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Innovation Summary

Provides a one-stop shop for education and workforce development needs through books and resource materials on all aspects of searching for a job, free workshops, inter-active online resources, 10 computers with resume writing and employability skills software and personalized assistance from program staff. In addition the program offers English language programs, computer skills training for youth and adults, and homework assistance.

Innovation Leader: Vonda Bryant, Learning Services Coordinator, vbryant@browardlibrary.org

Problem Statement

Rising unemployment, low-literacy and English language skills, and little to no access to computers and the Internet is a serious issue facing many communities in Broward County. Community organizations such as Workforce One, Hispanic Unity and The Urban League of Broward County provide quality programs such as English language classes, job placement assistance and other critical services necessary to achieve academic and economic success. Unfortunately the demand is greater than their ability to meet the need. As a result, many people in Broward County now gravitate to their local library to look for assistance. Increasingly, more and more customers are coming to the library looking for books on resume writing and cover letters, using the program computers to search and apply for jobs online and requesting computer instruction to develop their technology skills in order to find a job or advance to a better position at work. These requests require one-on-one assistance and specialized training. However, due to the large numbers of customers requesting these services, Broward County Library (BCL) was finding it increasingly difficult to provide these customers with the required level of service using the current staffing and service models.

Innovation

In 2011 BCL implemented CareerConnect: Education & Job Centers, a one-stop shop for education and job searching needs at eight Broward County Library locations. Supported by partnerships with WorkForce One of Broward, Hispanic Unity of Florida and the Broward County Urban League, CareerConnect provides books and resource materials on all aspects of searching for a job, free workforce development workshops, interactive online resources, 10 designated computers with resume writing and employability skills software and personalized assistance from program staff. In addition the program offers English language programs, computer skills training and homework assistance. CareerConnect helps customers navigate the process of managing a job search, submitting applications and resumes online, obtaining interviews, and getting hired, with the help of trained library staff and the valuable resources available, for free, at their local library. Customers utilizing the services of CareerConnect are better equipped for success in the future knowing that a library is a trusted resource for learning and information. In the comfort of their local library, CareerConnect gives them an opportunity to gain life changing skills, making them better able to achieve academic and economic success.

Progress

CareerConnect: Education and Job Centers are being fully utilized by underserved adults and youth in the eight communities. CareerConnect centers provide customers with learning opportunities, occupational resources and are increasing the target customer’s usage of and access to computer technology. As of March 2012, CareerConnect has offered over 750programs serving 6,556 customers.