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BTYBB: Job Search/Training

2017 November 9
by Henry Stokes

High speed Internet, or Broadband… no other technology has produced as much innovation and economic growth. And we’re just starting to see its potential. It’s the primary resource that will fuel the future.Image of library getting powered by broadband with words "Brought to you by Broadband"

I’m starting a new series here on the Library Developments blog called, “Brought To You By Broadband”, or BTYBB.  In each post, I’ll be shining a spotlight on a different key benefit brought to you by a library’s broadband connection. To get things started, I’ll discuss how it enhances job search and training for the community.

Image to represent Job Search / Training

                Job Search / Training

Research has shown that communities that improve their broadband service increase the number of local businesses, generate new jobs, and significantly improve the economy.  Community anchor institutions such as libraries need to ensure that adults of working age can access educational opportunities, build job skills, and find employment.  Without high-capacity broadband, libraries cannot position themselves for the future and realize their full potential in our increasingly digital world.

So what does broadband at the library bring to the community right now?

When people cannot afford Internet access at home, they go to the library and use the free public access computers. Here they can perform the tasks that will help them get a new, or better job:  work on their resumes, fill out job applications, and take online training to improve their skills.

These days, most jobs have to be searched for and applied for online, sometimes requiring the downloading and uploading of big files.  Most online training requires streaming or videoconferencing, both of which require a high speed Internet connection.  Faster, more reliable connections means the library’s services are working efficiently, freeing up staff time and ensuring the rest of the library runs better.  It means happier, more satisfied patrons, too.

Many libraries are providing broadband-enhanced maker spaces, robotics, and coding programs for young people, teaching valuable STEM/STEAM skills in technology that will prepare them better for their future job opportunities. Broadband acts as a fuel behind the scenes, propelling community members of all ages towards a better and more economically healthy tomorrow. And the library is the driving force getting them there.

One last point, and it’s an important one.  Just having broadband in the library isn’t enough.  Libraries need to provide robust digital-literacy training so that the job seekers and skill developers can navigate the broadband-enabled digital world effectively.  Who better than library staff to help people at the point of need with digital literacy?

In conclusion, it’s a pretty simple formula:

Libraries + Broadband + Digital literacy training (from library staff) = Big $$$$ for the community

So how can libraries keep their speeds up, particularly when demand is just going to get higher and higher?  The federal discount program – E-rate  – has been pivotal in connecting libraries and enabling them to afford broadband. It provides billions of dollars each year for libraries. Money is just  put on the table for libraries to use – Don’t let it just sit there!

It’s understood that broadband in Texas libraries means a better Texas economy.  This year, the State of Texas Legislature  appropriated $1 million to TSLAC  to support Texas public libraries in using E-rate for the next two years to secure faster connectivity. The Libraries Connecting Texas project can help your library stay up to speed.  But act now!  The window is closing and we’re only accepting 100 libraries.


Logo for the Libraries Connecting Texas project

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