Dorothy Darrow worked as a part-time freelance production designer, laying out catalogs and ads for businesses.
But when the pandemic-induced economic crisis hit, “everything pretty much dried up” in terms of work, she says. She plans to retire in a few years and needs income until that time.
She learned about Your Next Job in The Seattle Times and turned to the Library for help.
Your Next Job started as The Seattle Public Library’s response to economic conditions and grew into a joint effort with Sno-Isle Libraries and the King County Library System to help job seekers throughout the region.
While various organizations in the area help people with different aspects of employment challenges, the Library saw the need for a “one-stop shop” – and one that would help people in need of technological support in several different languages.
“Getting people resources and information is what libraries are about,” says Marion Scichilone, assistant managing librarian at Central Library. “It just seemed like a very appropriate thing to do.”
So they trained Library staff and contracted multilingual navigators to listen to job-seekers’ needs and either refer them to the appropriate Library services or link them with partner organizations that can offer more specialized assistance, such as Seattle Jobs Initiative or Puget Sound Welcome Back Center.
“Any resource that a patron doesn’t have access to, we can be that bridge to get them connected to what they need,” says Meira Jough, program manager for adult basic education and workforce development.
Another powerful partnership is the one with Building Our Bridge, a group of Seattle Housing Authority residents who contract with organizations to provide multilingual technology training. They’re uniquely positioned to help immigrants and refugees who call in with the digital skills often required in job-seeking.
They provide service in Vietnamese, Oromo, Somali, Amharic, Korean, Arabic, and Tigrinya. Library staff cover English, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese.
Between June and December, 265 patrons received Your Next Job services.
As for Darrow, she’s still looking for steady work, but Your Next Job connected her with contacts who could advise her on job training – and it boosted her morale as she secured job interviews.
“I was able to give myself encouragement to get out looking again,” she says.
To make an appointment with Your Next Job, visit www.spl.org/YourNextJob or call 206-386-4636.
This story appeared in our 2020 Report to Donors. Read the full report here, complete with stories of donor impact and financial information.