“Somewhere, sometime we all have to interact with computers,” said Rebecca Ryan, project manager for Saint Paul Public Library‘s new Mobile WORKplace. “We are teaching basic computer and job search skills outside the library to anyone 18 to 60 years old who is looking for work.” This project allows the library to increase access to job search assistance and computer-based job skill training outside the facilities, particularly for people who speak English as their second language.
Two large plastic cases of 12 laptops along with printer, scanner, and projector travel to classrooms in seven community centers in St. Paul this summer.
“We have three paid staff teaching in Hmong, Spanish, Somali, and English,” said Ryan. “Many learners have never touched a computer before. In the future we would like more locations and partnering organizations.” With help from community partners, classes could also be taught in Karen, Amharic, and Tigrinya.
Mayor Chris Coleman kicked off the Mobile WORKplace at Neighborhood House Satellite Office in Sibley Plaza on July 13. “In today’s competitive job market, computer skills are essential in providing twenty-first century skills for twenty-first jobs,” Mayor Coleman said. “These classes will teach residents the skills they need to succeed and further Saint Paul Public Libraries as a national model in effective community outreach.”
The Mobile WORKplace is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for the next two years. Friends of the Saint Paul Library and Saint Paul Public Library were awarded $300,000. This grant is part of a $5.5 million initiative benefiting users in 20 communities across the United States.
The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy asserts that democracy in America is threatened by the lack of equal access to quality information. Funding public libraries is one key to filling the gaps, the commission says. Unlike libraries, the Mobile WORKplace focuses exclusively on training and classes.
Mobile WORKplace schedule
To register for classes, contact Rebecca Ryan at 651-216-5116 or e-mail Rebecca Ryan@ci.stpaul.mn.us
• Tuesdays, 9:30-11:30 am at Sibley Plaza, Neighborhood House satellite site 2431 W. 7th St. Basic computer class in English (for speakers of Amharic and Tigrinya) (FULL)
• Tuesdays, 12-2 pm at Sibley Plaza, Neighborhood House satellite site 2431 W. 7th St. Basic computer skills in Spanish begins 6/22
• Wednesdays, 10am-12pm at McDonough Community Center 1544 Timberlake Rd. Basic computer skills in Hmong begins 6/16
• Wednesdays, 2-4pm at North Dale Rec Center 1414 Saint Albans St. N. Basic computers skills in English, (for Karen speakers) begins 6/30
• Wednesdays, 5:30-7pm at Baker Center 209 W Page St. Basic computer skills in Spanish (FULL)
• Thursdays, 10am-12pm at Wellstone Center 179 E. Robie St. Basic computer skills in Hmong
• Thursdays, 12-2pm at Wellstone Center 179 E. Robie St. Basic computer skills in Spanish
• Thursdays, 7-9pm at Battle Creek Rec Center 75 Winthrop St. . Basic computer skills in Somali
• Fridays, 9-11am at Mount Airy Community Center 91 E. Arch St. Basic computer skills in Somali begins 6/18
• Sundays, 2-4pm at Wellstone Center 179 E. Robie St. Basic computer skills in Somali begins 6/13