ELIZABETHTOWN-A new service is now providing workforce development, computer training and Internet access to libraries in Essex County.
The Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System, Adirondack Community Action Programs and partners held a launch event for the InternetXpress Mobile Program May 18 at the Colonial Garden Pavilion inElizabethtown to explain the free program.
A special InternetXpress van will be used to transport equipment, such as laptops and iPads, to the 16 libraries in Essex County, according to Betsy Brooks, information technology director of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System.
Additionally, the vehicle drivers will provide digital literacy and employment coaching. They will teach courses on Basic Word and Excel, networking, making an employment portfolio, writing a cover letter and resume, and creating a LinkedIn account, among others.
Brooks said that though the individual libraries have their own equipment, there is always a need for more, especially in the summers when the computer labs get congested.
Eighty-one-year-old Chapin Davis credits the digital literacy program in Westport with improving his computer skills. Particularly, he said, he now uses the free Internet calling program Skype to communicate with a childhood friend he hadn't been in touch with since 1947. Davis jokingly said he also used the application to keep "in touch with old flames."
Eleven people have found jobs with the help of the program in Essex County, according to Brooks. Van drivers assist those seeking work, in part, by helping write resumes and conducting mock interviews.
Brooks said the van was purchased in January and has seen increasing use. But her organization wanted to wait for better weather for its launch event.
The InternetXpress program is a partnership between the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System, Adirondack Community Action Programs, Inc., New York State Education Department (Division of Library Development) and OneWorkSource (Business and Employment Center). The program was funded by federal stimulus money, according to Linda Todd, a team leader in the Division of Library Development at the New York State Library in Albany.