Local library awarded grant for job training
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009 9:56 pm
A half dozen libraries across Tennessee are receiving grant funds administered through the Secretary of State’s office for programs that help job-seekers find work.
Libraries in Union City, Ardmore, Rogersville, Johnson City, Decatur and Franklin will each receive $7,500 to set up job training centers. These centers will provide materials and professional services to teach new skills to displaced workers, provide information about career choices and offer resumé writing and job application assistance.
The libraries will be collaborating with Department of Labor and Workforce career development centers, community colleges, high school vocational programs, extension offices, local businesses and other organizations involved in job training and placement. With the state’s unemployment rate estimated at 9.6 percent in March, Secretary of State Tre Hargett said there are many communities that could benefit from job training and assistance programs like those financed through the grant funding.
“During these difficult economic times, people who are out of work may need help in finding new employment,” Hargett said. “These job training centers are intended to give them the resources they need to re-enter the workforce.”
The grants come from federal funding made available through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which administers the Library Services and Technology Act. All 50 states and U.S. territories receive annual appropriations based on their population.
In Tennessee, the grants are administered by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is part of the Department of State. The Tennessee State Library and Archives staff advertises the availability of grant funding to libraries throughout the state, screens the grant applications, distributes the money to qualified recipients and makes sure the money is properly spent.
“While there’s a limited amount of money available for these types of programs, they can pay dividends even after the grant funds have been spent,” Hargett said.
For example, librarians can learn skills at workshops that they can then pass along to co-workers or library patrons. In one case, a library user in Kingsport who attended a grant-funded workshop about finding local jobs online has taken it upon himself to volunteer his time to teach that skill to other library visitors.
The State Library and Ar-chives has also provided other resources and assistance to libraries that offer programs for job seekers. In partnership with the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the State Library and Archives recently offered librarians across the state training on how to help people fill out unemployment forms.
Information for job seekers is also available through the Tennessee Electronic Library http://tntel.tnsos.org/.
Published in The Messenger 5.7.09