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Career & College Prep

Public libraries are increasingly important centers for Americans looking to secure work, advance their careers and find help in choosing, qualifying and paying for college.

In a new cooperative program between the Library and Library Foundation, adults can earn an accredited high school diploma using Library resources and support and taking online classes. Career Online High School helps some of the more than 205,000 San Diegans (15 percent of the population) age 25 and older who do not have a high school diploma. They face double the unemployment rates of high school graduates, lower life expectancies and incarceration rates many times higher than those of graduates. A 2009 study estimated that the total lifetime cost to taxpayers for each dropout is almost $300,000.  The San Diego Public Library is one of the first libraries in the country to offer adults the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online. Library Foundation donors have supported a limited number of scholarships to qualified adults. Visit here if you would like to provide a scholarship to a qualified adult. Visit here to learn more or apply.

Free Internet access is an additional essential resource the Library provides for job seekers. A recent Gates Foundation study found nearly one-third of Americans 14 or older–roughly 77 million people–used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the year studied. Forty percent of these library computer users received help with career needs.

Library branches hold regular free classes in basic computer skills, job search strategies, resume writing and career planning. For several years, the Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Branch Library has housed a San Diego Workforce Partnership one-stop career center. The new Bank of America Merrill Lynch Career Center at the Central Library expands these career assistance offerings and provides library patrons with access to experienced employment advisors, structured workshops and on-site assistance for developing resumes, learning interview strategies and organizing career information.

All libraries hold specialized materials on college selection and application procedures.