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Job Seekers Initiative

DC Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Kim Zablud, Special Collections Manager, kimberly.zablud@dc.gov

Problem Statement

Job seekers in DC are increasingly turning to libraries for help with their job search. Many of these customers lack basic computer skills and are challenged by a job search and application process that has largely migrated online. In a tight budgetary climate, the DC Public Library needed a low-cost solution to increase support to job seekers in ways that deliver maximum impact. The right solution would also strengthen staff capacity and skills to serve this new target population.

Innovation

The DC Public Library designed a job seekers web portal from the “ground up.” The dedicated site centralizes resources for job seekers and staff, and distills overwhelming information into manageable recommendations. In developing the portal, the library emphasized simplicity, usability, and interactive features (introductory video, tips from local business managers, share your success story, and more). As we expand services and partnerships, the portal is an up-to-date resource center for all things job-related at DC Public Library.

The Job Seekers portal is the cornerstone that makes subsequent services possible.  In October 2010, the library piloted a ‘Job Seekers Drop-In Clinic’ in the computer lab at the central library. The clinic provided highly personalized support for basic online job search activities.  Using the portal, computer savvy staff can quickly connect customers to the right online job tool.

Progress

The popular clinics are now repeated once a month (~300 participants served to date), with satellite models taking hold in branch libraries. With the portal as an impetus, the library also co-hosted a 650+ participant Career and Training Expo with the DC Department of Employment Services. We continue to explore ways to maximize reach and impact of the jobs portal and associated services. An intensive staff training workshop with WebJunction’s Project Compass is planned for spring 2011.