Date of this Version
Journal of Southern Academic and Special Librarianship (October 1999) 1(2). Also available at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/indexv1.html.
A six-week university library intern program sponsored by the Job Training Partnership Act investigated the impact on 12 economically disadvantaged young persons facing nationally recognized problems pertaining to inadequate reading and math skills, work ethics, job skills, and motivation to complete school. Participants, predominantly (92%) African-American high school students, worked at Grambling State University, an historically black university, under predominantly (85%) African-American supervisors. Interns received academic enrichment, work experience, and life skills, primarily through pre-testing, classroom training, orientations by departmental supervisor, "hands-on" group projects, written assignments, daily reviews, and post-testing. Statistical data verify recommendations in the literature that job training programs for youth be well-organized and include classroom teaching, orientation, supervision, written job descriptions and procedures, counseling on positive work attitudes and perseverance, evaluation, and development of marketable skills (especially computer technology). Interns succeeded, learned skills later described on their resumes and job application letters, and gained self-esteem and job assistance that, for most (67%), led to employment within a year. The study suggests that participants in similar library programs-most particularly those at historically black colleges or universities-improve their chances of entering the workforce permanently at higher income levels and of continuing their education at the college level.