2016-04-06 / Editorials

Queens Library Helps New Yorkers ‘Learn To Earn’

BY DENNIS WALCOTT

In my new post as President and CEO at Queens Library, I have visited two-thirds of our community libraries. It has given me an opportunity to witness first-hand how hard-working library staff provide invaluable programs and services to the public. The programs are as diverse as the community. I want to share one with you.

Queens Library’ s Job and Business Academy offers free 10-hour and 30-hour Construction Health and Safety Courses. Completion of these courses is required to work on most construction job sites. The course otherwise costs anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars. Queens Library offers them for free. The South Jamaica Community Library hosted an information session on March 22. More than 500 library customers came to learn about the requirements to qualify for a seat in the training.

People started lining up before 7 am. The library will be able to enroll approximately 150 students, but we easily could have filled each seat many times over. It is a program that helps real New Yorkers toward good-paying jobs. So far this fiscal year, Queens Library has had more than 2,000 customers attend information sessions for free job training certifications in construction safety, as security guards and as home health aides. Jobs skills training is funded by Bank of America and Council Member Donovan Richards. In addition to job skills training, the Job and Business Academy offers workshops on resume-writing, help with interviews and more tips to help customers land the jobs they want. More than 60% of the job skills training students reported finding new or better work within six months. The only thing they had to take out of their pockets was a free Queens Library card.

Queens Library has so many resources to help people learn to earn. We offer free English language classes. We have free workshops in basic computer skills, web design, using social media to promote a business, entrepreneurial skills and coding. We have materials to help customers prepare for professional licensing exams and civil service tests. We have resources to help earn a place in a good medical school. We have resources that will help illiterate adults learn to read. Later this spring, we will celebrate with more than 100 adults who have earned their high school diplomas through Queens Library this year, as well.

The staff of Queens Library is contributing a great deal to the economic well-being of residents. I am so proud to be working with them.

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