PLA launches Public Libraries: Partners in Workforce Development webinar series

For Immediate Release
Mon, 08/16/2021


Scott Allen

Deputy Director

Public Library Association

American Library Association

CHICAGO — As the nation begins recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are seeking opportunities to build skills, find and improve job prospects, and prepare for in-demand careers. Public libraries are stepping up to meet these needs with expanded services and strengthened workforce collaborations. The Public Library Association (PLA) will showcase this work in the Public Libraries: Partners in Workforce Development free webinar series starting August 19, 2021.

Co-developed by PLA and Libswork, a national networking group on workforce and small business development in libraries, each webinar will tackle a different topic related to workforce development and provide practical tools and resources for libraries to plan, deliver, partner, and advocate for these services to advance equitable economic opportunity.

Partnering to Meet Community Workforce Needs kicks off the series on August 19, 2021, and will address the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW to collaborate to improve library services and visibility—no matter your starting point—as well as to enhance patron and community impacts. Speakers include Scott Sanders, President and CEO of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies; Shayne Spaulding, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute; Xenia Hernandez, Library Community Services Coordinator at Saint Paul (MN) Public Library; and Shanika Wallace, Employment Service Coordinator with Ramsey County (MN) Workforce Solutions.

Strengthen Patron Workforce Opportunities with Labor Market Information follows on August 26, 2021. Library staff accessing and using state and regional labor market information (LMI) are better equipped to work with community partners to help people move from “dead-end” jobs to “quality” jobs and careers that match people’s skills and passion. This webinar will share LMI resources and use cases. Speakers include Ron Painter, CEO of the National Association of Workforce Boards; Stephanie Holcomb, Research Project Coordinator at the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development; Natalie Ruppert, Workforce Development Manager for the Kenton County (KY) Public Library; and David Klokner, Workforce Data Specialist for the Northern Kentucky Area Development District and Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board.

Public libraries are well-positioned to address these vital community needs as established centers for learning and hubs for community referrals. “With recent federal relief and economic recovery funding, many libraries are initiating or expanding workforce resources at a critical time for our communities,” said PLA Deputy Director Larra Clark. “Sharing these examples and expertise from libraries and workforce partners will extend our reach and help to strengthen library advocacy with policymakers at all levels of government.”

The series, which falls under PLA’s Public Libraries and Workforce Development initiatives, will continue through the end of the year and address topics including industry credentials, adult literacy, youth workforce readiness, and workforce services for returning Americans. Webinars are free, but separate registration for each live webinar is required.

About the Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or