Career and Job Center New in Main Library

YOUNGSTOWN (September 14, 2017/For Immediate Release) – Most people know that today’s libraries are so much more than just books. But often, a library’s contribution to economic growth and career development is a hidden gem. At the Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County (PLYMC) this is a priority. The Main Library today opened a space called the Career & Job Center (CJC) to provide an area where librarians and customers can explore employment resources, career training, and so much more.

The CJC adds one more aspect to the Library’s work with businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals in areas of jobs, career development, business growth and more. It is located in the Main Library, 305 Wick Ave., within the Information Services Department on the second floor. “Our goal is to provide resources, services and a well-qualified staff to help people and businesses connect with the resources they need to help them succeed,” said Interim Executive Director Susan Merriman.

The new Career and Job Center is comprised of two enclosed spaces and features 9 computers for training and job-related purposes, a copier/fax/scanner combo, interactive whiteboard and projector combo, dry erase board and a large conference table with chairs.

While all of PLYMC’s librarians can help customers with their career and job needs, Librarian Judith Jones is training to become a certified Career Development Facilitator through the National Career Development Association. The certification is approved by the Center for Credentialing and Education.

Jones will be assisting patrons in the CJC with training in areas such as these: navigating the Ohio Means Jobs website, writing resumes and cover letters, navigating company websites, where to go to apply for a job, how to upload a resume, and understanding a company’s assessment tests. She anticipates beginning programs in many of these areas in November. As a certified Career Development Facilitator, she will also be focused on diversity and connecting people with various community resources that serve diverse populations in areas related to career and jobs.

Governor Kasich’s Initiative, Office of Workforce Transformation, Goes Hand-In-Hand with Libraries

In 2012, Ohio Governor John Kasich created the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. From the Governor’s website (http://workforce.ohio.gov/): “The Office of Workforce Transformation’s mission is to grow Ohio’s economy by developing a skilled and productive workforce, promoting effective training programs, and connecting Ohio employers with qualified workers.”

“At PLYMC, we believe that libraries can play an important part in the Governor’s initiative,” said Janet Loew, Library Communications and Public Relations Director. “We have this initiative in mind as we create new services, explore partnerships and continue to develop our services and materials. The CJC offers another avenue for the Library to help Ohio’s employers and job force.”

“The CJC will be evolving over the coming months as we determine what the demand will be for the space,” Loew said. “We recognize that nonprofit organizations and businesses have needs for training spaces and as the center gets underway, we will explore this possibility. In the meantime, businesses and nonprofits with questions and input can talk with Judy Jones by calling the Library at 330-744-8636 and asking for Information Services.”

The Career & Job Center will also be used by librarians doing programming in specialized areas such as the Business & Investment Center, the Grant Center and computer training.

Book-A-Librarian for One-On-One Assistance

Library customers needing a block of time to learn about a specific topic can use the Book-A-Librarian service, which is tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual. A library staff member will give undivided attention to customers who want in-depth help with a wide variety of library services, such as: learning to use a computer, email, the Internet; downloading e-books and audiobooks; using the Library’s digital resources; researching a topic; getting help from librarians in the Business & Investment Center, Grant Center, Genealogy and Local History section. To schedule an appointment: visit any library, call 330-744-8636 or go online at www.LibraryVisit.org/Book-a-Librarian.

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The Library Has Worked with the Ohio Means Jobs Organization (Then Called One-Stop) for a Decade

“When Ohio Governor John Kasich created the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation in 2012, his ideas and goals were a perfect fit for libraries. PLYMC was already providing help with resumes and job searches, helping businesses with their needs, and working with individuals in ways which support a better-trained workforce,” says Janet Loew, Library Communications and Public Relations Director. “PLYMC is pleased to be able to offer materials and service that are supportive of the goals expressed on the Ohio.gov website,” Loew says.

“The Office of Workforce Transformation’s mission is to grow Ohio’s economy by developing a skilled and productive workforce, promoting effective training programs, and connecting Ohio employers with qualified workers.” (source – http://workforce.ohio.gov/)

Governor Encourages Ohio Means Jobs and Libraries to Collaborate

“Governor Kasich’s initiative includes a push for Ohio Means Jobs to work with libraries to facilitate collaboration,” said Diane Vicarel, Director of Main Library and Staff Development. “Here at PLYMC, we have recognized the value of a collaboration with Ohio Means Jobs and have, in fact, been working with the organization for a decade, back to 2007 when it was called One-Stop.”

Back then, PLYMC had 16 libraries throughout Mahoning County and these libraries had a variety of evening and weekend hours. One-Stop had one business location and limited hours of service with no nights or weekends. The Library wanted to help its patrons with their job searches and career choices, so this seemed the perfect partnership. PLYMC librarians were trained on One-Stop’s website and offerings to better serve library customers. The service was well-utilized, as customers came to libraries to use the One-Stop services on PLYMC’s public-access computers and librarians were there to assist.

“When we find local organizations offering services similar to ours,” Vicarel says, “we explore collaborations which would avoid duplication of services and to enhance the services of these very important organizations, such as Ohio Means Jobs. That has been one of our priorities.”

Taking Customer Service to the Next Level with More Individualized Service

“We wanted to take customer service to the next level by making customer interaction more focused, more unique to the individual,” Vicarel says. She explains that working individually with library patrons on the public floor can be difficult with the many distractions that are part of the landscape. The idea to set aside a space, which became the Career and Job Center, grew from this need. “We wanted to create a more private space that was tech-friendly and able to provide a much-needed space for individuals, as well as small groups working together.”

Partnering with Ohio Means Jobs

The Library partners with Ohio Means Jobs and the addition of the Career and Job Center will open doors to more services. Carol Ramsay-Loomis, manager of the Mahoning County Ohio Means Jobs, says the Library gives their customers who are looking for workforce information a great additional locations to utilize, especially since Ohio Means Jobs has one Mahoning County location and the PLYMC library system has multiple locations and is open more hours.

Sara Churchill, PLYMC’s Digital Services Librarian, is a member of the Ohio Means Jobs Service Delivery Committee, which discusses and explores programs offered by agencies that can benefit job-seekers.

Ramsay-Loomis cited the Brainfuse JobsNow program on the Library’s website as a valuable asset to those preparing for a job.

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