On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced legislation to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 that will integrate public libraries into state and local workforce investment boards.
The bill, the Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act, would expand libraries’ opportunities to take leading roles in helping the public find employment in this weak economy. The WILL Act would support library efforts that provide job search support in communities all across America.
Additionally, the bill recognizes public libraries as allowable “One-Stop” partners and authorizes new demonstration and pilot projects to establish employment resources in public libraries.
This will allow library users access to workforce activities and information related to training services and employment opportunities, including but not limited to resume development, job bank web searches, literacy services, and workshops on career information.
Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) co-sponsored the bill.
“I thank Senators Reed and Cochran for recognizing the important roles libraries play in preparing people in our communities for success in the workplace,” said Maureen Sullivan, president of the American Library Association.
“Libraries provide free Internet access that enables individuals to search for jobs and to complete employment applications. They provide software programs for resume preparation and training in the use of technology. Our libraries offer resources and individual consultation not found anywhere else in our communities,” Sullivan added. “Their contribution is integral to workforce development in our country.”