Jessamine County residents seeking employment opportunities now have more computer access, training and job workshops at the new Public Library Workforce Center (PLWC).
The Jessamine County Public Library (JCPL) is one of 46 public libraries in the state that will have a PLWC.
“The grant at JCPL facilitates training for our community on a variety of work-readiness and job-transition topics,” Jessamine County Public Library director Ron Critchfield, Ph.D., said.
The centers house computers and software that will be used to provide training in a formal workshop setting to Kentucky residents seeking employment opportunities.
“The new centers will help Kentuckians who do not have access to computers and broadband service to use 21st-century technology to access training, jobs and economic opportunities,” Gov. Steve Beshear said in a news release. “Our local public libraries have become an important community access point for people to search for jobs, write resumés and learn computer skills. These centers will provide a direct link to help for people in areas with high unemployment levels.”
The centers are made possible by a $1.3 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant provided through theU.S. Department of CommerceNational Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The project is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA). The grant targets counties with high unemployment.
To create its PLWC, the Jessamine County Public Library installed four laptop computers and five desktop computers with funds from the BTOP grant. All of the computers have Microsoft Office 2010. The library has also purchased a multi-function printer for the center’s use. Additionally, the library purchased a large-key keyboard, a trackball mouse and a handicap-accessible desk so individuals with disabilities can participate in workshops. The library used more than $20,000 in grant funds to purchase the equipment and software.
The Jessamine County PLWC will offer monthly in-house workshops to serve residents who are either seeking employment or looking for a better job. Classes include Intro to Computers, Intro to Microsoft Word, Creating a Resumé in Microsoft Word, Intro to Microsoft Excel and Using the Internet to Find Your Next Job.
The new PLWC is supported by the community through Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, Fitch’s IGA, Salvation Army, Jessamine County Food Pantry, Lexington Office of Employment and Training, and the Lexington Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, as well as through partnerships with the Kentucky Works Program and Kentucky Teleworks.
“Persons who attend training sessions build marketable skills essential for today’s workplace,” Critchfield said.
For more information on the program, visit www.jesspublib.org.