Kentucky Arts, Education & Humanities Cabinet

Kentucky Public Library PCC Workforce Opportunity Expansion

Many Kentucky libraries currently lack the requisite equipment, instructional capacity, and funding to meet increasing user needs, while existing One-Stop Career Centers in the state are often overcrowded with long wait times for service. The Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives plans a major upgrade of computer facilities as part of the Workforce Opportunity Expansion project that would target areas of Kentucky with especially high poverty, disability, and unemployment levels. In these communities, public libraries are for many the only source of online access to employment information, Medicare and other government services, unemployment benefits, and training opportunities.

The project plans to partner with the Kentucky Department of Education to offer GED completion courses, English as a Second Language training, family literacy, workforce education, and corrections/prison education in the enhanced computer centers. The project intends to adjust each library’s curriculum to meet local needs and match the resources of the town or county it serves.

Total Award: 
$1,349,826
BTOP In Action
Library patrons walk from table to table at a job fair.

The Kentucky Arts, Education, and Humanities Cabinet’s Workforce Opportunity Expansion project targeted areas of Kentucky with high poverty and unemployment levels. In these communities, public libraries are, for many, the only source of online access to employment information, unemployment benefits, and training opportunities. The project installed more than 730 workstations to encourage workforce development and partnered with community organizations to provide workforce training to approximately 28,200 community members. For example, Adult Education offices provided training to help community members prepare for the GED, even using mobile labs to reach out to students.

The libraries also helped job seekers gain and build skills to help them find jobs in the region. For example, many libraries generated weekly lists of jobs available in their areas. After hearing about these efforts, a local small business contacted a library and asked for help finding a part-time employee. The library referred several people who had attended their classes to the business, which ultimately hired one of those candidates.

Governor Steve Beshear said, “Our local public libraries have become an important community access point for people to search for jobs, write resumes and learn computer skills. These centers will provide a direct link to help for people in areas with high unemployment levels.”

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