Public Libraries: Partners in Workforce Development

Graphic image of diverse people representing a variety of workforce roles

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. Originally presented August–October 2021, the Public Libraries: Partners in Workforce Development webinar series showcased public library and partner workforce and career services from around the country. Each webinar tackled a different topic related to workforce development and provided practical tools and tips for libraries to plan, deliver, promote, assess, and advocate for these services to advance equitable economic recovery.

The Public Libraries: Partners in Workforce Development series was co-developed by PLA and Libswork, a national networking group on workforce and small business development.

On-Demand Webinars

Partnering to Meet Community Workforce Needs

Panelists: Xenia Hernández, Scott B. Sanders, Shayne Spaulding & Shanika Wallace

The first webinar in the series introduces and showcases national workforce partners and local collaborative program examples. Panelists answer the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and, most importantly, HOW to collaborate to improve library services and visibility—no matter your starting point—as well as enhance patron and community impacts. Hear from the director of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies and better understand their network and resources. Learn about local workforce ecosystems from the Urban Institute. And hear from Saint Paul (MN) Public Library and Ramsey County (MN) Workforce Solutions staff about their CARES Act-funded Career Labs and how they are working to sustain the labs and pivot to meet changing community needs. Originally presented August 19, 2021.


Strengthen Patron Workforce Opportunities with Labor Market Information

Panelists: Stephanie Holcomb, David Klokner, Ron Painter & Natalie Ruppert

The second webinar in the series highlights labor market information (LMI) resources and use cases and demonstrates how this information can inform and improve workforce service development, outreach, and partnerships to connect residents with in-demand jobs, gain in-demand skills, and improve economic mobility. Originally presented August 26, 2021.


Supporting Patrons to Obtain In-Demand Credentials That Boost Employability and Career Mobility

Panelists: Emily Felt, Haley Glovoer, Karsten Heise, Elizabeth Iaukea & Tammy Westergard

During this third webinar in the series hear from a panel of experts who have made sense of the maze of available learning opportunities to connect workers to high-quality NDCs that lead to in-demand jobs and career pathways. Learn about nationally recognized, “stackable,” and portable credentials, and how library staff are supporting patrons to secure them to boost their employability and career mobility. Panelists provide research and practical resources to successfully navigate NDCs with community members, as well as on-the-ground examples of statewide and local efforts in Washington and Nevada where libraries provide access and support to secure NDCs of value. Originally presented September 23, 2021.


Bridging Workers’ Digital Skills Gaps through Libraries

Panelists: Stacey Aldrich, Amanda Bergson-Shilcock, Scott Kuchinsky, Jen Nelson & Ka‘ala Souza

During this fourth webinar in the series participants hear from national, state, and local leaders developing strategies and implementing programs to begin closing the digital skills divide, specifically focused on employability outcomes and workforce development. Originally presented October 21, 2021.


Boosting Youth Workforce Readiness

Panelists: Kate Aubin, Janelle Duray, Marquita Friday & Jennifer Griffin

This fifth webinar in the series looks at programs happening in both formal and informal learning environments that are helping youth develop essential skills and experiences to be successful in pursuit of their interests and skills, including work-based learning opportunities, apprenticeships, and more. Originally presented October 28, 2021.


Supporting Formerly Incarcerated Individuals with a Fresh Start @ Your Library

Panelists: Sherry Sandler, Sarah Swiderski & Nicole Warren

Learn from members of the Fresh Start @ Your Library team, including social workers, and understand the steps they took to reach formerly incarcerated individuals and provide services to six communities through the public library. Hear about the critical importance of forging authentic connections with formerly incarcerated individuals to help determine what services are most needed, and the importance of building partnerships with local government agencies and nonprofit organizations. This sixth webinar in the series also explores the modifications to the original project plans imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and the lessons learned from the experience. Originally presented November 18, 2021.