The overarching challenge we seek to address is the gap in broadband access and literacy along lines of income, race, and ethnicity. Specifically, we are focused on these problems:
- The demand for help with job search is outstripping available community resources at SPPL, Workforce Centers, and community based organizations;
- Low levels of digital literacy prevent too many Saint Paul residents from applying for entry level jobs and participating in Adult Basic Education and Work Readiness Certification programs; and
- New immigrants who are non-English speakers face multiple barriers to building workforce skills, and getting and keeping jobs.
The goal of the Saint Paul Public Library’s Mobile WORKplace is, in collaboration with private and public partners, to meet the high need for job search and workforce skill training, particularly for non-English speakers. The Mobile WORKplace will bring laptops to community sites to provide training and job search support in Spanish, Hmong, Somali and English. (“WORKplace” is our brand for jobs, workforce skill building, and small business resources and programming.) This project will help us test
- The effectiveness of this method of promoting and fostering digital inclusion for immigrant communities, particularly in regards to economic and work goals.
- The efficiency and effectiveness of delivering library services in the community instead of in library buildings.
- The effectiveness of working with part-time, bi-lingual community liaisons to deliver services to our diverse community.