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New Kensington library seeks funding to help people launch careers

| Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2007

Peoples Library in New Kensington wants to use Community Development Block Grant funding to help people launch a career.

Jocelyn Sanders, a library trustee, told city council this week that the money -- library officials requested $8,000 -- would be used to improve an already existing career resource center.

Some of the money, Sanders said, would pay for a Westmoreland County Community College official to teach people interviewing skills and help them establish a career plan and commence a job search.

Sanders said that Brian Hays, coordinator at the WCCC Alle-Kiski branch, has agreed to teach group and individual sessions.

The library plans to partner with other local schools to make the program a success. Sanders said plans are to work with Valley High School, the community college, Alle-Kiski Learning Center and Career Training Academy to offer the library's career resources to as many people as possible.

On top of that, the CDBG money would be used to update the books and online tools already available at the library's career resource center, Sanders said.

She said the resource center is popular among people who are drafting their resumes or preparing for the SATs.

Peoples Library almost annually requests a share of the city's CDBG funding to create or improve library programs.

Kim McAfoose, the city's redevelopment authority executive director, told council this week that she expects the city to receive about $390,000 from the federal government this year in CDBG funding.

Council agreed this week to submit the city's grant application.

The city, each year, offers community groups the chance to apply, under set criteria, for a share of the city's allocation. McAfoose said the library was the only group to seek funding this year.

The city most likely won't receive its allocation, she said, until October or November. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development distributes the money to the state and then the state passes it along to the city, McAfoose said.

Several city officials said they planned to support the library's request.

"I think this has always been money well-invested," Councilman John Regoli Jr. said this week about granting the library a slice of the city's CDBG funding. "You have my support."

"I think the program is needed," Mayor Frank Link said. "It's a good proposal."

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