SJPL Works is both a physical and online space that unites the expertise of our region’s top leaders in economic and workforce development, creating a hub of services and resources for employment seekers, small business owners, and entrepreneurs in order to increase economic success for San José’s workforce. The business center at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library features collaborative workspaces with technology and productivity tools, meeting spaces with videoconferencing, specialized collections and classes, and much more.
All programs were moved to a virtual environment during the COVID-19 shutdown, but the SJPL Works team is excited to get back into the space at MLK once conditions allow the Library to reopen.
An engaged and actively employed community is a key factor in a city’s overall success. Quality of life, health, and education have all been shown to be impacted by a city ’s employment rates, and San José is no exception. The cost of living in the San José metropolitan area is one of the highest in the nation and continues to rise. Many San José residents struggle to keep up with a shifting job market and to maintain the income needed to remain in the city. SJPL Works is dedicated to helping these residents get the resources and training they need to get ahead at work, find a new job, or start a business of their own.
These programs are even more critical as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, when at least 23,000 working-age adults in San José have lost their jobs and lack the connectivity and/or computer skills to apply for benefits, seek a new job, or continue their education.
Despite the challenges presented by a global pandemic, SJPL Works staff was able to engage with 26 partners to offer 313 programs in FY 2019-20, including:
- Simple Steps for Starting Your Business
- Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program
- Spanish Basic Entrepreneurship Program
- Resume and Cover Letter Review
- Interview and Networking Skills
- Virtual Mock Interviews
These programs drew a combined 3,542 participants. 221 individuals received direct career or business reference help, and 150 took part in one-on-one career or business consultations. Most importantly, 96% of SJPL Works participants reported that they gained knowledge to help achieve their business and/or career goals.
Looking forward to 2021, the Library will continue to lean into the “new normal” by embracing an increasingly hybrid environment, with a focus on those in our community who lack the digital access and/or literacy to take full advantage of SJPL Works programming. This will include efforts to:
- Adapt programs to provide service to those who can’t easily pivot to virtual platforms;
- Increase collaboration with Family Literacy Coordinators to provide service to San José’s most vulnerable residents; and
- Boost capacity through online tools (e.g. Job Now & Vet Now).