Free job-search service by local libraries expands partnership and coverage area

Your Next Job expands to include Sno-Isle Libraries; service offered in 11 languages

To help workers recover from loss of income and unemployment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Seattle area’s library systems have banded together to offer one-on-one job-seeking assistance with Your Next Job (spl.org/YourNextJob).

The Seattle Public Library (SPL), in partnership with the King County Library System (KCLS) and Seattle Jobs Initiative (SJI), launched the free job-search service in July 2020. On December 7, Sno-Isle Libraries joined the partnership to bring Your Next Job’s personalized job search assistance to residents in Snohomish and Island Counties.

“We’re really excited to join this regional partnership in support of job seekers and promoting information literacy skills,” said Emily Felt, Sno-Isle Libraries adult services coordinator. “It’s a great service.”

Your Next Job is open to all job seekers who live in any of the three library district areas, and it does not require a library card to use. It offers free, one-on-one job searching assistance and connects residents to unemployment information using online meetings, email, texting or phone calls. The service was especially designed to serve job seekers who lack digital proficiency, have limited English language or work skills, and those with a disability.

“With the addition of Sno-Isle to this unique partnership, Your Next Job is able to reach even more people who face barriers to finding employment,” said Marion Scichilone, assistant managing librarian at The Seattle Public Library, who helped design the service. “We are thrilled to work with fellow library systems and partners like Seattle Jobs Initiative to respond to the devastating loss of jobs in our community as a result of COVID-19.”

"The crisis in jobs and employment caused by the pandemic impacts all of our communities, regardless of which library system serves them," said Audrey Barbakoff, community engagement and economic development manager at KCLS. "That's why KCLS, SPL and now Sno-Isle have come together in an innovative partnership to support job seekers throughout our region with Your Next Job."

One-on-One Job Support in 11 Languages

Seattle Public Library’s website serves as the entry portal for Your Next Job. Job seekers can access services in English (spl.org/YourNextJob), Spanish (spl.org/SuProximoTrabajo) and simplified Chinese (spl.org/YourNextJob-zh). Your Next Job is available for speakers of Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya and Vietnamese. Job seekers can also access Your Next Job by calling 206.386.4636 or emailing jobhelp@spl.org.

Participants submit their contact information, describe the help they need, choose their available days and times, and pick their preferred method of contact. Your Next Job appointments are available Monday through Saturday.

During the appointment, librarians can help residents file an unemployment claim, apply for a new job, gain basic technology skills, suggest new work skills, review resume resources, find interview coaching resources, and get referrals to workforce and social service organizations. Librarians can also suggest a variety of free online classes and self-study resources. All three library systems, for example, offer online proctoring and certification in Microsoft and Adobe software programs.

However, Your Next Job can’t help residents with existing unemployment claims. The Washington Department of Labor and Industries manages all claims once they are filed.

In SPL’s follow-up surveys, job seekers who received help through Your Next Job described the support they received as attentive, helpful, tailored to their needs and compassionate.

“That might seem like a small thing, but when you're out in the woods and you don't know where your next meal is coming from, it was pertinent to me to have someone say: ‘I hear you, and we're trying to help,’” said one patron who had been helped by Your Next Job.

While each session is limited to 30 minutes, librarians know many customers will need more than one appointment to get adequate support. It’s a relationship that takes time to build,” Sno-Isle Libraries’ Emily Felt said, “especially in the vulnerable space of the job search.”

Additional Partners

Additional partners include Seattle Jobs Initiative, Puget Sound Welcome Back Center, Building Our Bridge and Korean Community Service Center.

The Seattle Jobs Initiative creates opportunities for people to support themselves and their families through living-wage careers. Individuals acquire the skills they need to advance out of poverty, while simultaneously meeting the needs of local businesses for a skilled workforce.

The Puget Sound Welcome Back Center at Highline College provides support for internationally educated professionals entering the job market in their field of study. Many are unemployed or underemployed because their skills are not recognized.

Building Our Bridge and Korean Community Service Center are community-based organizations that provide support services for immigrants and refugees. These partnerships provide in-language navigation services.

More Information

KCLS is providing contactless pickup services, such as Curbside to Go and 24/7 library lockers, while library buildings are closed during this time. Find out more at kcls.org/contactless. And access KCLS’ expanded digital collection and online programming for all ages at kcls.org. Residents may contact Ask KCLS or call 425.462.9600 or 800.462.9600 for assistance.