Fairfield Public Library jobs program reports over 200 successes

The Fairfield Public Library has announced that 201 people who participated in the Library’s Jobs program since 2012 have reported they have found employment. The Library estimates that number to be even larger if accounting for people who haven’t reported or who participated in the program before records were being kept. The Jobs program offers talks, one-on-one counseling, a Job Search Boot Camp and a Linked-in page. The Library developed this program in 2009 in response to the difficult economy and with many in the community out of work. Though the economy has slowly improved, job seekers still need support and continue to come to the Library in the same numbers.  

A large part of the Jobs program’s effectiveness is thanks to Career Counselor Ann Wright. Ann has been providing one-on-one, 20-minute career counseling sessions and a Job Search Boot Camp at the Library since the spring of 2011. She started her program at the Library through a grant from Career Resources, Inc., but after a year, funds for the program were exhausted.

“Knowing the urgent needs of the unemployed, I did not wish to discontinue my work at the Library and so continued as a volunteer,” says Ms. Wright, who travels from Stamford to be here each Thursday. In addition to the 5 hours she spends at the Library each week, she estimates that she spends an additional 10 plus hours planning for Boot Camp, putting together information for meetings and reviewing resumes or cover letters for participants.

A recent innovation Ann added to the Boot Camp is an “Accountability Buddies” program that matches two job seekers, usually from different fields, to support and coach each other. Another effective innovation included designating the last Thursday of the month as an interview practice meeting. Participants volunteer to be interviewed based on the job description of a real position they would like to apply for. At the end of each quarter Wright has Boot Camp participants fill out a “Score Sheet” to track their progress. Points are earned for networking, sending thank you notes and an effective Linked-in profile; points are lost for spending more than three hours per week looking at online job boards and not getting business cards at meetings. On average, 20 people participate in Boot Camp each week.

Asked what the most important advice she has for job seekers, Ann says, “Network. Networking is still the number one lead to a job.”

Ann has spent her career in human resources and job placement, including as the Assistant Director of Career Development for the Yale School of Management MBA program. In addition to her volunteer work at the Library, she has a private career counseling practice and offers discounted rates for unemployed clients.

One participant who recently secured a job said of Ann, “Boot Camp provides a supportive environment while at the same time providing you with a “push” to move forward with your search and the tools to do so. Her warm, supportive yet no nonsense approach, combined with her attention to detail, knowledge and practical advice are an invaluable resource in any job search.”

“We are so proud to be a part of supporting people who are in need of employment,” said Town Librarian Karen Ronald. “Connecting people with great resources – including Ann Wright – is one of the most satisfying things librarians do and do well. In a small way we are also helping economic development in our community. People who get jobs can continue to live, shop and invest in so many ways in Fairfield.”

If you are interested in the Library’s ongoing Jobs programs, one-on-one career counseling sessions are available by appointment with Ann Wright on Thursdays, from 10:45 am to 2:00 pm. Same-day sign up is available at the Information Desk or by calling 203-256-3160. Job Search Boot Camp meets Thursday mornings from 9:15-10:30 am. Jobs programs take place at the Main Library, 1080 Old Post Road.

All programs at the Fairfield Public Library are free. For more information, visit us online at: www.fairfieldpubliclibrary.org or call 203-256-3160. Follow the Fairfield Public Library on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fairfieldpublib and Facebook: www.facebook.com/fairfieldlibrary.

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