Although the National Bureau of Economic Research has announced that the recession that started in December 2007 ended as of June 2009, public libraries remain packed with unemployed and underemployed members of their communities. Many turn to public libraries for free access to the Internet, but also for trusted assistance with searching online job sites, filing for unemployment compensation and other benefits, building résumés and interview skills, and making use of a wide range of other employment services and resources such as computer and financial literacy classes. Small businesses and entrepreneurs also look to public libraries for help with their plans for development and sustainability.
As a response to this undiminished need, libraries have added or expanded E-Government programs and built up resources that are geared to aid in workforce recovery. Below are some examples of these resources available for libraries and their patrons.
US Department of Labor
- Job Banks
- Career One-Stop
- Military Job Seekers
- Women’s Bureau
- Social Web Partnership to Connect Unemployed Americans with Jobs
- USAJOBS is the federal government’s official one-stop source for federal jobs and employment information.
- Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for people with disabilities who want to work.
Online Training Courses
- Goodwill Community Foundation’s free online training in many subject areas includes computer literacy and how to search for a job.
- Wi$eUp is a financial education program designed for Generation X and Y women. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Labor Women's Bureau in support of the Department of Labor's Strengthening the Family initiative.
- Money Smart for Adults consists of 11 training modules that cover basic financial topics. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides the Money Smart curriculum free of charge.
- MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government's website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education.
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Project Compass Resources
Through two grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), WebJunction and the State Library of North Carolina (SLNC) launched Project Compass in support of public libraries’ efforts to meet the urgent and growing needs of communities impacted by the economic downturn. The two-year program helped the staff of public libraries increase their knowledge of available resources and handle the service needs of unemployed and job-seeking patrons. In an economy where more must be done with less, the program also addressed how libraries can utilize existing resources and partnerships.
In Florida, we have made extensive use of the program’s Pathway for Job Seekers in our Project Compass workshops and online training. These pages contain additional links to information and resources to help patrons take action.
There is also state-specific information on the Florida Department of State’s Division of Library and Information Services E-Government Archived Webinars website. The Project Compass Florida Web page provides links to idea generators from Florida libraries reporting on their workforce recovery activities. A monthly newsletter with workforce recovery ideas and resources for libraries is also produced.
This list of resources is by no means complete and grows all the time.