Job Help Centers
Problem StatementCentral Ohio was not spared the job loss carnage associated with the “Great Recession.” With unemployment in Franklin County growing from 4.9% in January, 2008 to 6.1% in December, 2008*, Columbus Metropolitan Library’s 21-locations saw a noticeable spike in customers needing help with the basics of beginning a job search. The volume of new job seekers coming to the library, many with minimal computer literacy, created an opportunity for the system to fill a need in our community by offering a new, targeted service for our customers.
*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
InnovationIn January, 2009 and with just a few weeks to plan, CML staff rolled out the Job Help Center service at all 21-system locations. The goal is simple: Help our Customers Get Jobs. Each location offers a combination of:
- Hands on Help – staff and/or volunteers work one-on-one with a customer to help with research, resume writing and technology training.
- Job Related Classes – e.g. resume writing, online applications, email, social networking as a job search tool, etc. Staff and specially qualified volunteers offer these classes. We work closely with related local and state agencies as well as national organizations such as AARP.
- Special Events – Two countywide Job Help Days have been held in collaboration with the other library systems in Franklin County as well as other key community organizations.
- Open PCs – Job seekers are allowed longer computer sessions than is standard for the public PCs and they receive limited, free printing.
In order to make room for the Job Help Centers, most of our locations repurpose their Homework Help Center during some or all of the hours before and after its primary use as an area of school kids to get help with their homework.