The Pueblo West View

New technology helping with job assistance

New classes and improved technology continue to make the virtual workforce center at the Pueblo West Library a popular and useful way for locals to receive job assistance.

The Workforce Center in Pueblo and the Pueblo West Library are connected in a one-of-a-kind way in which patrons can come to the library branch and participate in workforce center classes that are taking place downtown, through the use of computers, television and cameras.

The interaction is Skype-like, but on a larger level.

There are televisions at both the library and Workforce Center, equipped with cameras.

Then people “attending” the class at the library location can participate in a class that is instructed at the Workforce Center.

“The whole purpose is to provide increased access for rural communities,” said Librarian Deborah Krauth.

“We have people tell us that it’s very useful not having to go downtown.”

The Rural Workforce Consortium is a statewide program that has virtual connections to workforce centers in 30 rural libraries throughout Colorado.

Those terminals are generally a single computer with a camera and microphone to allow users to interact with the community’s workforce center.

The Pueblo/Pueblo West setup is different, and the larger-scale allows for multiple people to partake in the classes or interact with the workforce center in other ways.

For people in Pueblo West, they see a large-screen view of the classroom downtown, as well as a small inset picture of their own classroom.

Mark Valdez, Labor Employment Specialist II with the Pueblo Workforce Center, said the screen can be changed to a three-way picture which can then include a computer screen image if, for example, the instructor is showing a Power Point presentation.

The project is a pilot one that Pueblo has the pleasure of test running before it’s possibly expanded to other places throughout Colorado.

Pueblo West Library and the Pueblo Workforce Center began the cooperative classes a little over a year ago.

Currently there are two classes – offered on alternate Thursday mornings – that people can participate in via the virtual link in Pueblo West.

The classes are for job search – career decision making and an interviewing class.

Both are held at 10 a.m., and participants need to sign up at least one day in advance.

Signup can be done online at the library.

“This has really worked out well so far,” Valdez said.

“It’s interactive, which is great.”

The classroom downtown at the Workforce Center holds about 25 people, but Valdez said classes will soon move to an upstairs room that can hold a few more.

With that move, the hope is that more things will eventually be offered at the Pueblo West Library through the virtual connection.

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