NEW ROCHELLE, NY (WCBS 880) – For the chronically unemployed – people recovering from the recession – where do they turn? An employment agency? A headhunter? The public library?
WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Westchester County
“People my age remember when librarians were ‘Shhhhh!’,” says Barbara Davis, head of community relations at the New Rochelle Public Library.
Well, not anymore.
“Now, they’re being asked to provide information about social services and getting jobs,” she says.
The library received a federal stimulus grant for broadband technology to help the unemployed. They’re seeing a broad range of people coming in.
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“It’s the loss of the white collar jobs that we’re seeing – lawyers, teachers, social workers,” she tells WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
So, what does the library offer job seekers?
“[We help you] become familiar with the computer, get an e-mail address, apply for these jobs, and we’re holding their hand along the way. They can also come here to get one-on-one job readiness coaching because we were able to hire a human resource specialist who is a dynamo,” she says.
There are also many volunteers on hand.
Plus, she says, “We also have another layer. We have a group of AmeriCorps workers who will also sit with people one-on-one and they’re not available, a librarian will.”
A Cornell grad recently came in to revamp his resume.
Anyone can get help, and it’s free!
“When you see the effects of this program, when you hear that a person got a job and they come back two months later saying ‘I love this job. Thank you so much.’ It just gives you the energy to say ‘We’re going to keep this going. This is going to become part of our culture.’,” says Davis. “We want to track our successes and so we have built-in mechanisms for people to come back to report to us.”