For the last year, Washington County Library and the Washington County WorkForce Center have been working together to provide better support for job seekers in the community, including plans for Job Corners at libraries in Woodbury, Cottage Grove and Oakdale.
Although the librarians and library staff aren’t officially trained as job search counselors, they often help job seekers who stop in the library – anything from guidance on updating and printing a resume to assisting with an online job application.
Because the library is a resource for job seekers, partnering with the WorkForce Center to provide better service to patrons was a natural fit.
“Even though the WorkForce Center is right across the street (from R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury), we have a lot of job-seeking customers that come here to the library in the evenings or weekends,” said librarian Liz Gonzalez, who is leading the library team on this partnership.
The Job Corner at R.H. Stafford Library in Woodbury provides a visible link to the services and resources available through the WorkForce Center. This year, the library is planning to launch two additional Job Corners at Oakdale Library in Oakdale and Park Grove Library in Cottage Grove.
Each Job Corner includes information about services and programs for job seekers, books and materials from a special job search collection, and basic office supplies like resume paper, jump drives, and envelopes.
“We want to provide anything we can to make things easier for the job seeker,” said Gonzalez.
One of the most popular resources at each Job Corner is a binder filled with job opportunities that’s updated every week with new postings and event flyers provided by staff at the WorkForce Center.
“I can tell it’s popular because it’s flipped through and used – people can tell what kinds of job opportunities there are in the community,” said Gonzalez.
Over the last year, staff with both organizations have also done a training exchange. Staff from the WorkForce Center gave librarians advice on how to help job seekers and guidance on when it’s best to suggest they visit the WorkForce Center for more assistance. In exchange, library staff visited the WorkForce Center to outline library resources like job search books and job and career databases like Job & Career Accelerator and JobNow.
“When things come up, being able to connect with them and brainstorm with them about how we can partner to better serve the job seekers has been really good,” said Gonzalez.
“This collaboration is about reaching a larger number of our community, and directing them to a resource that best fits their needs,” said Tina Dudzinski, WorkForce Center Supervisor. “Knowing more about what our partners do helps us to provide a higher level customer experience to those we serve. Plus, we’ve had a lot of fun!”
Washington County Library and the WorkForce Center have also partnered to host two job fairs in Woodbury and another job fair at Hardwood Creek Library in Forest Lake. More than 280 people have attended the job fairs held in Woodbury.