Libraries/Partners in Workforce Investment (afternoon)

Panel discussion with Susan Hildreth, Jane Oates and Terri Bergman:

Susan Hildreth/IMLS-

Some key facts about libraries and their role in partnering with the workforce investment/public workforce system:

  • 30 million Americans used a library to access career services and submit online job applications, building resumes, etc.
  • ¾ of this group reported using libraries a minimum of once per week.
  • Part of IMLS’ mission is to help funders know the value of libraries, and enhancing relationships with partners to support the essential work that libraries do and services provided to the communities that they serve.
  • IMLS has a wealth of information and data on 21st century skills; “the four Cs.” Rote learning no longer works.
  • Libraries and museums have taken a leading role in developing 21st century skills.
  • Libraries need to lead the way on creating communities that are digitally inclusive.

Jane Oates/Assistant Secretary at USDOL/ETA-

  • Mentioned that she was happy to be here, as libraries are key partners with efforts occurring at DOL/ETA
  • Large numbers still out of work, in excess of 26 weeks
  • Not everyone is going to use the One-Stop CareerCenters, even though they are a key partner with libraries.
  • Afraid of being judged (“you’ve been unemployed for how long?”).
  • Libraries are “flat” and not bureaucratic.
  • Librarians are there on weekends, at night, and hours that One-Stops aren’t always available.
  • Libraries are apolitical entities, by-and-large.
  • People out of work still need to be bolstered and built-up; libraries are perfect vehicles to help with this.
  • People remember their “first library card.” The positive aspect of libraries in people’s experience; warmth, trust, a feeling of people believing in you, and where many of us learned to exercise responsibility.
  • Libraries reach people that haven’t been reached and connected with, before.
  • Employers “hide” behind soft skills; need to be clear on what they want for skills.
  • Workplaces are changing rapidly; example: telework.

Terri Bergman/Director of Research and Programs for NAWB-

  • WIA 101; explanation of LWIB system and their role in public workforce.
  • Funding gets contracted out, generally through the One-Stop CareerCenters.
  • Funding also may go to other community-based organizations.
  • Libraries logically should be partnering with LWIBs, or One-Stop CareerCenters.
  • LWIBs were surveyed; 1/2 of LWIBs that responded (50 percent) are partnering with libraries. 
  • Libraries can find their closest LWIB through ETA/DOL service locator; develop a MOU.
  • Goal of libraries should be to get as much support (tools, training, providing services in libraries).
  • Some of audience indicated that there are difficulties connecting with LWIBs.
  • Libraries need to locate data on “where the job growth” is occurring; what are the high-demand jobs, particularly jobs that don’t require extensive training.