Tuesday, May 31, 2016

U.S. Department of Labor Encourages Work Force Collaboration

Seal of the US Department of Labor
U.S. Dept of Labor - courtesy DOL
Helping people find good jobs and improve their work skills remains front and center in your community, on the state level and nationally. On May 4, the U.S. Department of Labor,  Employment and Training Administration, released Training and Employment Notice 35-15, titled "Encouraging Collaborations between the Workforce Investment System and Public Libraries to Meet Career and Employment Needs."

The Notice includes this statement as an Action Requested: "State and local workforce development boards, state workforce agencies, and American Job Centers are encouraged to collaborate with public libraries to complement and extend the career and employment services available through the public workforce system to job seekers and unemployed workers."

This call-to-action demonstrates an appreciation of the long-standing dedication of local librarians who work tirelessly with job-seeking residents. Through boom and bust times, people in communities large and small turn to their local public library for help building job skills and seeking new opportunities.
Cartoon of happy workers shaking hands
Happy workers - courtesy Linea Resourcing
If you aren't aware of the work being done by your regional Workforce Development Board, you can view a list of draft plans filed by Wisconsin's Workforce Development Boards here. Please note, the plans may have changed since they were filed in draft format.  Please contact your regional Workforce Development Board for additional and updated information.

The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) have been encouraging recognition of the active role public libraries play in addressing work force development issues for a long time.  COSLA facilitates dialog on library-related issues of concern to all states. Their spring meeting included a presentation on the work of the National Governor's Association, Education and Workforce Committee, of which Governor Walker is a member.

The presenter, Stephen Parker, Legislative Director, Education and Workforce Committee, National Governor's Association, stressed the importance of engaging libraries along with workforce agencies at the local level.  He discussed the pathway created by the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, and the role public libraries can play.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact your public library system or me.

Written by
Martha Farley Berninger, Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning
martha.berninger@dpi.wi.gov