Local libraries band together to help job seekers during economic crisis
release date: 12/07/2020
To help the region’s workers recover from job loss and unemployment, the Seattle area’s library systems have banded together to offer one-on-one help with job searches, job skills, technology help and more.
Your Next Job (spl.org/YourNextJob) is a free job search service started in July 2020 by The Seattle Public Library with King County Library System and Seattle Jobs Initiative. As of Dec. 7, Sno-Isle Libraries has joined the partnership to bring Your Next Job’s personalized job search assistance to people in Snohomish and Island counties.
“We’re really excited to join this regional partnership in support of job seekers and promoting information literacy skills,” said Sno-Isle Libraries adult services coordinator Emily Felt. “It’s a great service.”
Your Next Job is open to all job seekers who live in any of the three library districts, and it does not require a library card to use. It offers free, one-on-one help with job searching and unemployment information using online meetings, email, texting or phone calls.
Your Next Job was started as a community resource to help workers who lost hours or a job as coronavirus restrictions forced many businesses to cut staff hours or eliminate positions this year. The service was especially designed to serve job seekers who lack digital proficiency, have limited English language or work skills, and those with a disability.
“With the addition of Sno-Isle to this unique partnership, Your Next Job is able to reach even more people who face barriers to finding employment,” said Marion Scichilone, assistant managing librarian at The Seattle Public Library, who helped design the service. “We are thrilled to work with fellow library systems and partners like Seattle Jobs Initiative to respond to the devastating loss of jobs in our community as a result of COVID-19.”
"The crisis in jobs and employment caused by the pandemic impacts all of our communities, regardless of which library system serves them," said Audrey Barbakoff, community engagement and economic development manager at KCLS. "That's why KCLS, SPL and now Sno-Isle have come together in an innovative partnership to support job seekers throughout our region with Your Next Job."
ONE-ON-ONE JOB SUPPORT IN 11 LANGUAGES
The Seattle Public Library’s website serves as the entry portal for Your Next Job. Job seekers can access the service at webpages in English (spl.org/YourNextJob), Spanish (spl.org/SuProximoTrabajo) and simplified Chinese (spl.org/YourNextJob-zh). Your Next Job services are available for speakers of Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya and Vietnamese.
Job seekers can also access Your Next Job by calling 206-386-4636 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants submit their contact information, describe the help they need, choose their available days and times, and pick their preferred method of contact. Your Next Job appointments are available Monday through Saturday.
Appointments are held with a librarian who can offer help with basic technology skills, a new unemployment claim, suggesting new work skills, reviewing resume resources, applying for a new job, finding interview coaching resources, and referrals to workforce and social service organizations.
Librarians can also suggest a variety of free online classes and self-study resources. All three library systems, for example, offer online proctoring and certification in Microsoft and Adobe software programs.
However, Your Next Job can’t help customers with existing unemployment claims. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries manages all claims once they are filed.
In follow-up surveys by The Seattle Public Library, job seekers who received help through Your Next Job described the support they received as attentive, helpful, tailored to their needs and compassionate.
“That might seem like a small thing, but when you're out in the woods and you don't know where your next meal is coming from, it was pertinent to me to have someone say: ‘I hear you, and we're trying to help,’” said one patron who had been helped by Your Next Job.
While each session is limited to 30 minutes, librarians know many customers will need more than one appointment to get adequate support. “It’s a relationship that takes time to build,” Sno-Isle Libraries’ Emily Felt said, “especially in the vulnerable space of the job search.”
Additional Your Next Job partners include Seattle Jobs Initiative, Puget Sound Welcome Back Center, Building Our Bridge, Korean Community Service Center , Neighborhood House and Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.
The Library brings people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community. The Seattle Public Library’s buildings are currently closed, but we are providing Curbside Service for pickup of holds at 11 locations. Find out more at spl.org/Curbside, and find updates on our reopening process at the Library’s Road to Reopening page.
The Seattle Public Library has many other free online services, resources and programs available while its physical buildings remain closed. You can also contact the Library with any questions by phone at 206-386-4636. Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information during this challenging time.