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Providing job-seekers with tools for the trade

PLATTSBURGH - Job-seekers have a new resource in the area.

The Community Computer and Employment Resource Center officially opened in the Plattsburgh Public Library Oct. 13. Library board members and staff joined elected officials and representatives of the North Country Regional Workforce Investment Board, the organization which the library partnered with in establishing the center, for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting to mark the occasion.

Janelle Shepard, director of the center, said the center will offer important tools people will need in their search for employment.

"We'll be hosting workshops for resum writing, how to use the Internet to job search and even how to turn on a computer," said Shepard.

The goal of the center is to stimulate employment and connect people with job opportunities in and around the region. The center was established through a $244,517 federal economic stimulus grant received by the Plattsburgh Public Library earlier this year. The library was selected as one of 30 public libraries in upstate New York with higher poverty and unemployment to receive the two-year grant.

The grant, explained Shepard, was used to purchase computers, desks and supplies as well as provide high-speed Internet service for the center. The location - in a section of the library which formerly housed periodicals and books on tape - made sense because of the volume of traffic seen by the library, said Shepard.

"We spoke to library staff and found there are people coming in here, looking for employment on computers," said Shepard. "So, [the center] is very important to have with the high unemployment rate and just another resource we can offer in the community."

Mary Linda Todd, a library development specialist in the Division of Library Development at the New York State Library, said the center will be critical connector between job-seekers and places of employment. Making that connection will help the North Country's share of the estimated 800,000 people out of work in New York State alone, according to a report Todd said she had heard on National Public Radio.

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