PLATTSBURGH - Job-seekers have a new resource in the area.
The Community Computer and Employment Resource Center officially opened in the Plattsburgh Public Library Oct. 13. Library board members and staff joined elected officials and representatives of the North Country Regional Workforce Investment Board, the organization which the library partnered with in establishing the center, for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to mark the occasion.
Janelle Shepard, director of the center, said the center will offer important tools people will need in their search for employment.
"We'll be hosting workshops for resum writing, how to use the Internet to job search and even how to turn on a computer," said Shepard.
The goal of the center is to stimulate employment and connect people with job opportunities in and around the region. The center was established through a $244,517 federal economic stimulus grant received by the Plattsburgh Public Library earlier this year. The library was selected as one of 30 public libraries in upstate New York with higher poverty and unemployment to receive the two-year grant.
The grant, explained Shepard, was used to purchase computers, desks and supplies as well as provide high-speed Internet service for the center. The location - in a section of the library which formerly housed periodicals and books on tape - made sense because of the volume of traffic seen by the library, said Shepard.
"We spoke to library staff and found there are people coming in here, looking for employment on computers," said Shepard. "So, [the center] is very important to have with the high unemployment rate and just another resource we can offer in the community."
Mary Linda Todd, a library development specialist in the Division of Library Development at the New York State Library, said the center will be critical connector between job-seekers and places of employment. Making that connection will help the North Country's share of the estimated 800,000 people out of work in New York State alone, according to a report Todd said she had heard on National Public Radio.
"I'm sure that number is low because those are the people that are looking for jobs and those are the people we have statistics for," said Todd. "I'm sure there's a lot more people out there who have given up looking for a job."
Library director Stanley A. Ransom called the opening of the center "a joyful occasion."
"We've consistently had people coming in who look for any kind of job information, so this is great," said Ransom. "I'm always delighted to add services to the library that will help the community."
John VanNatten, chairman of the North Country Regional Workforce Investment Board, said he was proud to partner with the library in what will be a great opportunity for helping the unemployed.
"This is a great location," said VanNatten, "and we look forward to helping numerous people from the community get additional skills that will help them get employed."
The Community Computer and Employment Resource Center will be open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Those hours, however, could eventually be adjusted to meet the needs of the people who use it, said Shepard.
"This is a customer-driven center," said Shepard, "so, down the road, if we find a flux of people coming in that need it to be open later, we're going to adjust to that."
For more information about the center, contact Shepard or assistant director Jordan Ellithorpe at 563-0921.