Gallatin County opens Public Library Workforce Center

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Gallatin County and any other area residents seeking employment opportunities now have more computer access, training and job workshops available to them at the new Public Library Workforce Center at the Gallatin County Public Library.

The Gallatin and Carroll county libraries are two of the 45 public libraries in the state that have a PLWC.

The centers house computers and software that will be used to provide training in a formal workshop setting.

“The new centers will help Kentuckians who do not have access to computers and broadband service to use 21st century technology to access training, jobs and economic opportunities,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “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.”

The centers are made possible by a $1.3 million American Reinvestment and Recovery Act Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant provided through the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The project is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and administered by the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. The grant targets counties with high unemployment.

“We are pleased to use these grant funds to create Public Library Workforce Centers in 45 Kentucky public libraries. The centers will assist their communities in the economic recovery and provide lasting benefits in education and economic development. We are proud to be working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and partners across the Commonwealth to bring technology and training to so many Kentuckians at their public libraries,” said Wayne Onkst, Kentucky’s state librarian and commissioner of KDLA.

“Our program is designed to help community members acquire or refine the needed and desirable skills to address issues relating to unemployment or underemployment, problems associated with disabilities or the lack of higher education,” Gallatin County Public Library Director Shirley Warnick said. “This center will help community residents to become more competitive in the workforce.”

To create its PLWC, the Gallatin library installed one laptop computer and 11 desktop computers with funds from the grant. The library also purchased a digital media projector to facilitate classes of up to eight participants. The library used more than $17,800 in grant funds to purchase the equipment.

The Gallatin County PLWC will offer monthly in-house workshops to serve residents who are either seeking employment or looking for a better job. Topics covered include computer basics, Internet, Microsoft Word and Excel, introductory email, computing for seniors, and resume writing.

The center will work  with Gallatin County Adult Education and Dorman Industries to assist as many area residents who are seeking employment as possible.