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Libraries + Partners = Job Opportunities & Successful Communities

Newport News Public Library System, VA

Innovation Summary

Providing excellent library services is our goal but prioritizing these services has changed with economic and workforce development taking the lead. The recent recession and decrease in jobs for American workers has helped clarify what is important. Our patrons must first earn a livable wage to enjoy many library resources.

Innovation Leader: Izabela Cieszynski, Library Director, icieszynski@nngov.com

Problem Statement

The need for easily accessible job search centers throughout the City especially in light of the recent recession and reduction in jobs for American workers. The Newport News Public Library System has partnered with Peninsula Council for Workforce Development to provide Peninsula Worklink SHARE Network Access point (SNAP) sites at four branch libraries and the newly repurposed South Morrison Family Education Center. Of the 32 Peninsula Worklink SNAP sites that serve the Peninsula, the Library System provides five. These sites are vital to our community outreach efforts and the delivery of core job search services in easily accessible local neighborhood locations. They also serve as a valuable mechanism to guide and direct job seekers to the comprehensive One-Stop Career Center for Peninsula Worklink, where they can access a full menu of more intensive services, to include occupational training in a variety of “in-demand” career areas. At our Main Street Business Center and our South Morrison Family Education Center we offer Job Searches, Resume Writing Classes, Grant Writing and Small Business Workshops. Librarians at all our branches are willing to help patrons fill out applications and search for jobs as their time permits. Our staff assisted 3,505 people during 2012 at library SNAP Centers and as of February, they have helped 3,047 job searchers so far this year.

Innovation

The key element of this innovation is the partnership with the Peninsula Council for Workforce Development to provide Peninsula Worklink SHARE Network Access point (SNAP) sites at four branch libraries and the newly repurposed South Morrison Family Education Center. Additionally the offering of free classes on job searches, resume writing, grant writing and small business workshops all help educate our patrons on successful search techniques and good business practices. Most of our workshops/classes are taught by Christopher Newport University professors. It is also beneficial to seek funding from the business sector that understands and shares your values for a productive community. Their investment in your effort will allow you to offer greater resources to your job hunters and community at large. We received a $5,000 grant from Bank of America in 2012 for Workforce Development resources.

Progress

The Newport News Public Library System’s innovation is to provide a service model with partnerships that gives our citizens convenient access to job search centers and provides the informational resources and training workshops they need to become employed, productive citizens.