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Mobile WORKplace

St Paul Public Library

Innovation Leader: Sheree Savage, Acting Manager for Community and Digital Services, sheree.savage@ci.stpaul.mn.us

Problem Statement

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.

Innovation

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.

Progress

The project is just getting underway. Already it has helped bring together a group of organizations, including the Library, to develop and agree on a standard curriculum for digital literacy training which we can “credential” and market to employers. The purpose is to ensure that residents can take technology and digital literacy classes at many different sites in the community and get quality training that will be recognized by area employers.