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Job seekers hit Chula Vista library Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Oct 02 2010 12:00 PM

The Chula Vista public library in June received a $20,000 grant from the California State Library which will sustain a new public service for south Chula Vista and Eastlake residents for the next 18 months.

Career Transitions is a new online resource that is supposed to help job seekers make well-planned career choices and can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Because of the high unemployment rate in the economic recession, libraries across the country have significant increases in people seeking resources to make job-related decisions. 

Career Transitions is a one-stop shop for public library users to find answers, whether looking for a job, refining skills or changing career paths. 

"People cycle through economic levels, so it's a great resource no matter where you are on the economic scale," Waznis said.

Career Transitions is a professional product of the Gale/Cengage resource and information company. It is a guided, self-paced application that walks an individual through performing a comprehensive job search. It assesses a person's strengths and interests, helps them explore new opportunities, prepare a resume, find educational opportunities and provides networking advice.

Jacquie Brinkley, library programs consultant for the California State Library, said one of the state library's primary functions is to provide libraries with funds necessary for resident s'needs.

Chula Vista library director Betty Waznis said libraries are becoming more involved in the job-seeking process during a time when people need help making life-changing career choices. "Career Transitions helps us increase the quality of our service and meet the needs of our residents," she said.

 "It's unique as far as how they are using it for career-building tools," Brinkley said.

According to Brinkley these grants are competitive. After 18 months, library grant recipients must reapply if they find a need to continue the program for residents. Moreover, it is the library's job to track outcomes of the resource since the state monitors the total usage.

"If a community is not fulfilling their compliance in terms of reporting, documenting evaluations, it is likely they will not receive another grant from the state," Brinkley said.

The grant is annually awarded and depends on the need in the community.

Brinkley said the state is also looking into grant reviews to see if the program could be replicated in other communities.

"We are hoping that they won't cut us off at the knees," Waznis said. "Even if they continued partial funding, it would be helpful."

Waznis said the opportunity to serve Chula Vista residents is apparent and the library is an outstanding venue to help. Waznis said that an estimated 500 people each day use the libraries for computers in the city of Chula Vista.

According to Digital Services Manager, Jody Sawina, Career Transitions was posted on the library website two months ago.

 "You create your own account and it's available anywhere free of charge," Sawina said.

Waznis said the response has been good. "We are seeing a tremendous upsurge in people looking for work," she said. "The fact that this is a database that walks people through resumes helps hook them into job openings."

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