Presented by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh with special thanks to
Senator Wayne Fontana for making the Skills for Success Series possible.
JoAnn, a longtime customer of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - West End, spent her summer actively searching for gainful employment. She would visit the Library nearly every day, working on the public computers to fine-tune her résumé, completing online applications and searching for new job opportunities. One day, JoAnn approached the staff wearing a big smile and a shiny new employee badge. She credits the Library's assistance and resources for helping her land a full-time job.
"The staff members were always able to help me find unfinished applications from a previous visit, set up a second email account and help with the new word 'program' that has been installed," says JoAnn. "Having been taught on WordPerfect many years ago, I must admit I was stymied at times!"
With a national unemployment rate hovering at 9.1%, many Pittsburgh area residents are feeling the stresses of job insecurity. For decades, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has been the place citizens turn to for job search assistance and educational resources and to sharpen their employment skills. The Library provides a dedicated center for job and career education in Oakland and also offers job and career assistance at each of the Library's neighborhood locations throughout the city.
Thanks to a grant, jobseekers, like JoAnn, are benefitting from the first installment of free career workshops made possible through State Senator Wayne D. Fontana, 42nd District, with funding from the Department of Community & Economic Development. Held at several Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations, Skills for Success: The Fontana Series Career Building Workshops provides participants who are between jobs or looking for new opportunities with instruction in preparing online job applications, résumés and effective cover letters.
During each four-hour workshop, Skills for Success participants take part in mock interviews and develop job hunting strategies and networking skills, all while receiving personal feedback and assistance.
"It has been wonderful to bring such a comprehensive workshop on career building to several neighborhood libraries," says Rachel Masilamani, a reference librarian who, along with fellow librarian Georgiana Deming, developed and conducted the workshops. "I am excited that we have this opportunity to help participants gain control of the job search process and help them develop materials that showcase their unique talents and abilities in today's competitive job market."
Pittsburghers who have taken advantage of the workshops have been extremely grateful for the advice and guidance they received. "The Library offers many resources, and the exercises that included a mock interview gave great feedback," said Dana, a workshop participant at CLP – Allegheny. The mock interview taught job seekers how to make a lasting impression and prepared them for common interview questions.
In addition to career workshops, all Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations provide individuals with information and referral services to aid in job searches, career development, vocational training and higher education. Staff is available to assist customers with Internet and database searches, as well as direct them to specialized print and online resources. These resources include information for people just starting out in the job market, changing careers, filing for unemployment, going back to school and much more.