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Jay Gentry of Lightcast speaks with a resident about the program on Aug. 11 at the Dove Library. Photo by Steve Puterski
Jay Gentry of Lightcast speaks with a resident about the program on Aug. 11 at the Dove Library. Photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad launches job readiness pilot program

CARLSBAD — The city, Chamber of Commerce and private partners rolled out a new job readiness pilot program on Aug. 15.

The Carlsbad Job-Readiness Room program is bridging the “last and first mile” between job seekers and employers for entry-level positions, according to Sarah Zaner of the Drucker Institute, one of company’s partnering with the city.

Candidates must conduct at least 15 hours of training, but the participating companies guarantee an interview.

The program’s pseudo headquarters will be at two municipal libraries — the Cole and Dove branches — as Zaner said libraries have become more of a gathering for prospective workers since the pandemic.

While just a pilot program at this point, Matt Sanford, the city’s economic development manager, said the industries included are hospitality and food, manufacturing and office administration.

“One of the things we’ve observed … is workers are hard to come by, especially with entry-level workers with low unemployment and this Great Reshuffling,” Sanford said. “It’s just a tight labor market. In response, the City of Carlsbad sees there is a role to play … to support our businesses and workers. That role to play is creating a stronger pipeline and connectivity between workers and businesses.”

At the libraries, the Job Readiness Room will provide resources for prospective workers, such as guaranteed interviews with employers and easier access to the internet to help connect workers with skills training.

Sanford said the hope is a more robust worker pipeline, better qualified and retention.

In the past three months, there have been more than 15,000 unique job postings in the city, which translates to more jobs than workers, according to Sanford. who said the program will not only be a potential benefit to Carlsbad, but North County workers.

Zaner said the Drucker Institute uses Bendable, an online platform for lifelong learning program stewarded through public libraries.

“What Bendable does, is give libraries a tool to help patrons to discover content that’s interesting to them, the right instructional style and around the right topics,” Zaner said. “It’s super important and applicable to everyone.”

The institute first rolled out the program in South Bend, Ind., approximately one year earlier and has since launched in several other cities in California, including Carlsbad, which is considered a “beta city” for the pilot job readiness program.

According to Zaner, the Drucker Institute acknowledges that libraries and librarians have growing roles in assisting the local workforce.

“At the entry-level job level where folks are taking their first steps into their workforce development journeys, they’re often coming to public libraries,” Zaner said. “Public libraries are becoming the last mile of equitable broadband access and the first mile of workforce development for a lot of people.”

The institute and the city are also partnering with Lightcast, a company working to drive economic prosperity and mobility.

For businesses wanting to participate in the Carlsbad Job-Readiness Room program, email [email protected]