News Releases

JUNE 20, 2019

Public Libraries Tap Technology to Expand Access to Job Training


Public Libraries Tap Technology to Expand Access to Job Training
— Libraries in New York, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri join Baker & Taylor's pioneering skill development initiative—

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 19, 2019 - Baker & Taylor, the world's premier distributor of books and digital content, today announced the launch of its Career Skills Training platform, which will enable public libraries to offer education and training programs designed to prepare individuals for success in the world of work. Patrons at libraries in four states can now access a broad range of competency-based, career-aligned courses and playlists, in subjects including foundational math, reading and digital literacy, at no cost. These resources allow job seekers and workers interested in developing new competencies a flexible path to enhancing skills for careers, including the soft skills that employers are seeking today and for the future.

"For job-seekers looking to navigate a rapidly changing labor market, lifelong learning is no longer an option -- it's a necessity," said Nick Buron, Chief Librarian at Queens Public Library in New York City, which is among the world's largest library systems, serving a population of nearly 2.3 million. "Our job is to make education and training accessible to our customers in ways that can help them chart a course to social and economic opportunity."

The partnership reflects the efforts of a growing number of libraries to help patrons learn workplace-relevant skills and navigate the job market. More than three-quarters of all libraries offer programs to help people apply for jobs, and a body of research from the American Library Association suggests that libraries across the U.S. play a critical role in helping individuals prepare for success in the changing economy.

"The ubiquity of high-speed internet at public libraries enables us to offer education and training at an unprecedented scale," said Amandeep Kochar, Executive Vice President of Public Library Sales and Technology at Baker & Taylor. "This partnership is fulfilling the promise of libraries as a resource where people can build the foundational skills they need for success throughout their careers."

Patrons at Queens Library, Gwinnett County Public Library in Georgia, Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri and Kent District Library in Michigan can now access training in foundational career readiness skills, offered through Axis 360, Baker & Taylor's digital media library. The curriculum was developed by Penn Foster, which partners with employers and community-based organizations to provide skills development and training for today's dynamic world of work. The initial foundation courses offered as part of the Career Skills Training portal are the first of a series of programs that will continue to expand in the coming months.

"Public libraries have enormous potential as engines of economic mobility," said Ron Stefanski, Managing Director at Penn Foster. "These pioneering libraries are taking a critical step toward fulfilling that potential -- and setting the stage for future skills, certificate, and credential programs to follow."

To learn more about Baker & Taylor and Penn Foster's Career Skills Training for public libraries, stop by the Baker & Taylor booth at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. June 20-24, 2019.

About Baker & Taylor |
Baker & Taylor is a premier provider of books, digital content and technology solutions that help public libraries improve community outcomes through literacy and learning. Through its Publishers Services business, the company also provides sales, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution support to small and mid-size publishers. Baker & Taylor is part of Follett Corporation, a trusted global source of books, digital content and technologies that help inspire learning and shape education.

About Penn Foster
Penn Foster is bridging the gap between education and economic opportunity to build the workforce of tomorrow. We partner with employers to design and deliver digital and blended learning programs that attract, upskill, and retain workers in America's fastest-growing fields and professions. With more than 40,000 graduates each year, Penn Foster helps individuals discover pathways to opportunity through accredited diploma, certificate and degree programs that matter in the world of work. For more information, visit


Press Contact for Baker & Taylor:
Whitney Grones Bretzman

Press Contact for Penn Foster:
Cindy Starr

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