Library hooks up with to connect job seekers with skills they need


BG Independent News

Wood County Public Library Director Michael Penrod has high hopes for what can do for his patrons.

The service, now owned by LinkedIn, provides more than 6,800 courses and more than 200,000 of video tutorials   on an array of subjects, with a heavy emphasis on technology and business. It has tutorials on management, photography, design, and much more. All have been vetted for quality and currency, Penrod said.

Thanks to a new collaboration with Learning and Ohio Public Library Information Network, the service will soon be available for free to public library users throughout the state.

With the new service, local library patrons who need to learn new software to get a new job or promotion can either come into the library’s tech center or log in using their library card information and learn it at home.

Looking at the offerings, Penrod already sees videos that he would like members of the library staff to view. Looking through the offerings, he finds videos he would like to view himself.

The statewide collaboration was announced Thursday in Columbus. Penrod, who chairs the OPLIN board, said it is fitting that OPLIN is involved in providing this service. In his remarks at the press conference in Columbus Thursday, Penrod said OPLIN “serves as the backbone for connectivity throughout the state by providing broadband internet services to all of Ohio’s 251 public library systems.”

Those internet connections make offering possible.

Libraries “as the People’s University” have always been on the forefront of helping people improve their job skills. That’s been especially evident following the economic collapse of 2008.  Penrod said “to have this work force development tool is a big game changer for the Ohio public library community.”

So a job seeker can find the tutorial for the skills they need.

The county district library was considering buying into the service – Perrysburg already offers it. That would have cost as much as $6,000, he said.

Now that money can be spent on books that complement what provides, including enhancing a collection at the offices of Job and Family Services.

OPLIN, the Ohio Libraries Council, and the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation worked together on the project to make sure the training aligns with the jobs that are needed. “These learning modules support the majority of the occupations listed on the OhioMeansJobs List of In-Demand Jobs in Ohio,” according to Penrod.

While someone can go on YouTube and find various instructional videos, there’s no telling how current, accurate or reliable those are, Penrod said. insures the quality of the courses and tutorials. Those who have LinkedIn accounts can even get certificates signifying they have taken a course on site.

Penrod said the plan is to have a link on the library’s website by the end of this week. After the staff has a chance to acquaint themselves with what it affords, they will do a public relations campaign to let people know it’s available.

That will include reaching out to companies through the Chamber of Commerce and Bowling Green Economic Development.

While the array of what’s offered seems daunting, the offerings are organized by subjects and learning paths, Penrod said. And a user can always turn to the tutorial on how to use