Virtual Workforce Centers aim to reach out to rural job seekers

Folks in 40 rural communities in Colorado will now have access to employment information through the Virtual Workforce Centers.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced the introduction of computer workstations called Virtual Workforce Centers at more than 40 participating libraries across Colorado, in mostly rural areas.

The Virtual Workforce Centers, set to debut in mid-September, will allow library patrons to tap into a wide range of job search resources and information.

“Each Virtual Workforce Center has an interactive screen that makes getting started easy,” said Ellen Golombek, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  “We think our customers will find them convenient and user friendly.  They will bring most of the services found at our employment offices to job seekers who are increasingly turning to libraries for career exploration and job search activities.”

In Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak Library District was not part of this grant. However,  the district recently received a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant which allowed the library district to put computer workstations in the Cheyenne Mountain, Sand Creek and Penrose libraries for workforce development, said Sydne Dean, Pikes Peak Library District associate director of public service.

All the virtual workforce centers represent the new, more modern libraries of today, said Jamie Hollier of the Colorado State Library.

“The notion that libraries are simply a quiet sanctuary for reading is out of date,” she said.  “Libraries offer so much more – and the Virtual Workforce Center is a perfect fit for them.  We’re excited to be a part of this statewide project.”

Plans are in the works for many Virtual Workforce Centers to offer training sessions for job seekers on such topics as how to create a résumé, how to be successful in a job interview and more.

The Virtual Workforce Centers are being launched as part of Workforce Development Month, an annual statewide focus on critical workforce development issues.  During September, Workforce Centers, led by the Colorado Workforce Development Council and the Department of Labor and Employment will be providing information and services that unite the needs of both workers and employers statewide.

For details about what Pikes Peak Library District offers, visit, www.ppld.org and click on Career Compass.