By Fiona Weeks
DOVER, Del. - Libraries are often overlooked as places to simply check out books and pay over due fines. But Delaware officials are hoping resources and new programs will place libraries as a central hub, to get Delawareans back to work.
Governor Jack Markell joined Delaware Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons at the Dover Public Library Friday. It was the official opening of the first Job Center at Delaware libraries. Speaking to WMDT, Senator Coons noted the nuanced roles of libraries. "In this modern world, and the very difficult environment and economy we have today, they're also a great place to come and search for a job.
The Dover Job Centers will be the first of four opening in Delaware this year. Offering resume workshops, computer training, even GED and High School diploma resources, the centers aim to connect Delaware residents to Delaware jobs.
Recent government initiatives are expected to bring hundreds of jobs to the state, including the recently passed U-S Free Trade Agreement. Yet 35,000 Delawareans remain unemployed today. "If the jobs are being created and folks don't know about it...people who are unemployed or under employed don't know how to connect with the jobs that are created, it doesn't do them a lot of good," Senator Carper remarked.
Since the Dover job center's soft open this summer, feedback has been mostly positive. Reverend Gregory Gordon visits the center regularly with members of his congregation. He says it's helped place 46 people in the past three months. He says the resources have helped build confidence among these people. " Many have been so long without a job, they've almost given up. Their self esteem needs to be built up, their spirit needs to be built up, and their ability to say they're worth something."