Guest column/Google workshops important for region

The Mary H. Weir Public Library is excited to announce that Google will be bringing its program Grow with Google and free workshops to our library on Wednesday. These workshops primarily will focus on helping local job seekers, small business owners, educators and entrepreneurs improve their digital skills. All day, residents can stop by to take the free workshops taught by Google instructors.

Digital skills, such as answering e-mail, creating web pages for your business and understanding the best way to use programs like Google Docs or search engines, are becoming increasingly more important in our technological age. A recent survey found that eight in 10 middle-skill jobs require some type of digital literacy and that having these skills leads to more economic opportunities.

As our steel industry helped build many American communities, “Grow With Google” digital workshop skills will help enable today’s job seekers, entrepreneurs and our businesses to rebuild our community and compete again nationally and globally.

Our library’s current programs include proctoring services for university student examinations and also provide career and college databases for those applying to colleges and universities. The library’s career readiness services are supported with job seeking skills, resume writing assistance and classes to prepare candidates for job interviews in weekly evening sessions with a professional job coach. Our partnership with WorkForceWV helps assist clients in researching and preparing for job interviews.

The library also provides a weekly evening class for adults in basic computer and Internet access skills in our 10-computer training lab. The Weirton Library’s Community Public Computer Internet Research Center equipped with 16 computers with business software of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Publisher provides patrons the ready access to the West Virginia Library Commission’s WVInfoDepot collection of online educational tools and employment research services, including resume writing software useful for today’s creative job seekers.

Our partnership with the National Council on Aging as a training site enables employment and training for adults needing to prepare to re-enter the job market. Also, our Goodwill partnership provides job training and specific skill coaching from Goodwill trained professionals in an actual workplace environment.

Our Adult Literacy Program of trained adult tutors assists adults from the community and those referred by our partners who need to prepare for the TASC exam. This enables job seekers to become marketable to human resource departments requiring applicants to have a high school diploma. The Adult Volunteer Literacy Program enabled eight adults achieve a high school equivalency degree this year.

The library is a member of the Weirton United Way network and works to provide collaborative support for meeting their social service missions. The Weirton library is also a Federal Depository Library and supports AmeriCorps volunteers and its local sites in meeting their national goals to serve West Virginia communities.

The Mary H. Weir Public Library is a nationally designated digital learning center. We want to expand upon these programs and help provide these digital skills trainings. We are so excited to partner with Google to bring these resources to our community. Not only will Google be on site on Wednesday, but the information they will be teaching to our librarians and others from around the area will create a chain of education and information that will be felt long after their visit.

Grow with Google is a critical first step to keep our communities residents, local businesses and nonprofits attuned to the skills they need to succeed in today’s economy. At the Mary H. Weir Public Library, it is our job to keep our thumb on the pulse and to make sure that our patrons have the chance to learn alongside us.

By bringing Grow with Google to Weirton, we hope that many of our patrons will begin to see our library as more than a place to check out a book, but also as a place to learn new skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

(Rekowski is director of the Mary H. Weir Public Library.)