11/29/09 — Library to offer training for work force prep tests

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Library to offer training for work force prep tests

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 29, 2009 1:50 AM

Beginning Monday night, people can turn their trips to the Wayne County Library into a way to help them find a job or possibly earn a promotion at their current job.

The library, in partnership with Wayne Community College, WORKS (Wayne Occupational Readiness Keys for Success) and the Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board, is providing access to free career readiness tutorials every Monday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the library's Gertrude Weil Auditorium.

The library recently acquired 10 laptops and installed the WIN Courseware on each of them to help residents prepare for Career Readiness Certificate testing.

The CRC is a nationally recognized credential that documents a person's work-related skills.

It gives a person an advantage with employers who accept the CRC, library officials said.

"This is a preparation course where people can come in and practice for free, at their own pace," said Matt Bolen, supervisor of the library's reference department. "Though we do not require an appointment, we recommend it. Otherwise people might come in and a computer would not be available."

Bolen said the computer tutorials begin at one level and once the person gets a certain percentage of the answers correct, he will advance to the next level.

"If they are having difficulty getting out of a particular area of study, the software will stop them and let them know what they need training in," Bolen said. "They can then come to the reference desk to find out what kind of materials are available in the library that can help them move on to the next level of study. They may finish in one night, or they may need to come back. They can come back as often as they want or need."

Citizens are not required to have a library card to use the resource and the courseware is available in Spanish. The library began the program on a limited basis last summer, but is now ready to offer the service each and every Monday.

"The county commissioners approved the purchase of these computers and we are so thankful," Wayne County Library assistant director Donna Phillips said. "These laptops will really help citizens better prepare themselves for a job search."

The Wayne County Library, along with other libraries across the country, has experienced increased traffic and greater demand for expanded services since the downward turn of the economy.

According to the 2007-08 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study, nearly 73 percent of libraries are their communities' sole provider of free Internet access, which rises to 82 percent in rural areas.

Aiding job seekers was increasingly viewed as a critical role for public libraries, with 62.2 percent of libraries reporting this service is critical to the library's mission, up from 44 percent one year earlier.

"We are trying to do as much as possible to help people connect with employment," Mrs. Phillips said.

For more information or to sign up for the Monday night courseware, call the library's reference desk at 735-1824, ext. 5100.