Workforce Development and STEM are Focus of Legislative Grant

The Allegheny County Library Association was fortunate to receive a Legislative Grant for $100,000 through Senator Joseph Scarnati with assistance from Senator Guy Reschenthaler. The funds from the grant were to provide training and resources in the areas of Workforce Development and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

All libraries in Allegheny County received a core collection of Workforce Development materials. Included in the collection are books on interviewing, resumes and career paths that cover the needs of the general public, veterans and re-entrants; prep books, materials and practice tests for the High School Equivalency Test and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language); and materials on using social media to accelerate a job search.

Ten library staff members from across the County attended the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Conference in Hershey. Upon their return the group shared the wealth of knowledge gained by hosting a Q & A session for all library staff, will be presenting to the County Library Directors and will be available to meet with small groups.

Staff from a number of libraries participated in a one-day bus tour to the Center for Creative Re-Use, TechShop Pittsburgh and Construction Junction to visit makerspaces. This opportunity allowed the libraries to learn more about adult makerspaces, and to gain some hands-on experience.

A one-month membership at TechShop Pittsburgh was available to those libraries interested in hands on maker experience. Thirty-six library staff members could register for an introductory class and unlimited shop hours in the field of their choice, allowing them to determine what would work in their library, and explore programming possibilities.

For the younger audience, each library in the County received STEM related preschool grab bags. Anyone with a library card may borrow these themed bags. Each bag contains a tip sheet for parents or caregivers on how to use the kits, suggestions for other activities to incorporate, some books on the topic and manipulatives or learning tools.