Libraries and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

This article is cross-posted on the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education blog hosted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Portia Wu, Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training, U.S. Department of Labor

Johan Uvin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education

Susan Hildreth, Director of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services

Our agencies have long recognized the role of libraries to help meet the workforce training and job search needs of the American public.  At the height of the recession, more than 30 million people reported using library computers for workforce related needs and 3.7 million of them reported finding work.  Today, 96 percent of libraries surveyed offer online job and employment resources and 78 percent offer programs to help people apply for jobs.

In July, the President signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (WIOA) which strengthens and aligns Federal employment, education, and training servicesOverwhelmingly approved by both the House and the Senate, the legislation is the result of a bipartisan agreement that recognizes the vital role the workforce system plays in providing the services and resources job seekers need to access the kinds of skills training, career information, and education that are required for today’s job market. The Act aligns with and complements the President’s Vision for Job-Driven Workforce Development, as it prepares workers for 21st century jobs and ensures American businesses have skilled workers to be competitive in global economy.

We are pleased that WIOA includes several exciting changes that better align federal resources and call for local community-based partnerships to increase access to services.  WIOA explicitly identifies public libraries as potential partners of the American Job Center network, and acknowledges libraries’ ability to provide an expansive array of job search services. It also recognizes libraries as important providers of federally supported training and employment for adult education and literacy. WIOA instructs state and local workforce development boards to boost “digital literacy skills” at American Job Centers – a task perfectly suited to public libraries!

We are delighted that the role public libraries play in workforce development is being acknowledged. Every day, people in communities across the United States use libraries to access the Web for career development—boosting their skills through online learning, improving their English literacy and digital literacy, and finding work. Public libraries can do even more with better collaboration with state and local workforce boards.

We thank American Job Centers, the nation’s employment skills training programs, and public libraries for all they do to serve our nation’s job seekers and contribute to the country’s economic vitality.   Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, we will deliver better coordinated services so that students and jobseekers acquire the skills needed in a competitive 21st century economy.

See other collaborative efforts:

Posted in Learning Tools and Interactives (Information/Media literacy), Lifelong learning/ Intergenerational, Workforce Development/Job Assistance | 2 Comments

StoryCorps Interview: Sam Noble Museum of Natural History

Each year, select museums and libraries with outstanding records of community service receive the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. Beginning with the 2009 awardees, personal stories demonstrating the ongoing impact of these award-winning institutions are being documented through a cooperative agreement between IMLS and StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs.

2014 National Medal Winner Sam Noble Museum of Natural History

From left to right: Donovan Spirey and Chip Leslie

From left to right: Donovan Spirey and Chip Leslie

“If we had a magic wand and could do something different for the museum, what would it be?”  

Wildlife Biologist Chip Leslie talks to his 8-year-old grandson, Donovan, about their regular visits to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History in Norman, Oklahoma, Donovan’s love of science, and the exhibit he would most like to see.

Listen to their story here:

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Posted in Collections Care/Preservation, Cultural Heritage/Sustainability, Education Support, National Medal for Museum and Library Service, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) | 2 Comments

Storycorps Inverview: Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Each year, select museums and libraries with outstanding records of community service receive the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for museums and libraries. Beginning with the 2009 awardees, personal stories demonstrating the ongoing impact of these award-winning institutions are being documented through a cooperative agreement between IMLS and StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs.

2014 National Medal Winner Brooklyn Botanic Garden

BBG

Pictured from left to right: Patricia (Patti) Hulse and ShaQuana Boykin

 

At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, ShaQuana Boykin, now 24, talks to Patricia (Patti) Hulse about how working with the Garden Apprentice Program (GAP) as a teenager helped her get through difficult times at school and at home.  Patti is the Manager of Youth & Family Programs at the BBG.

“the Garden taught me how to interact with people, how to listen to people…”

Listen to their story here:


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Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Health, National Medal for Museum and Library Service, StoryCorps | Leave a comment