Ben Loftis Contributing Columnist
January 21, 2014
Each year, the Union Carnegie Library hosts approximately 20,000 computer uses. Many of those uses are from residents who are checking email or Facebook, watching videos or listening to music, playing games, or doing homework. However, many (possibly as many as 1 in 8) are using computers to search for jobs or complete applications online.
Libraries state and nation-wide are experiencing this same trend, and the S.C. Department of Education and Workforce has noticed. The DEW has approached libraries in each county about becoming a Connection Point. Connection Points are locations that provide free public access to computers with Internet service, as well as making available tools to guide Unemployment Insurance claimants through the process. Having seen many patrons using the library for job searches and UI claims but not having the information available locally, becoming a Connection Point was a natural fit for the library.
Becoming a Connection Point means that the Carnegie Library makes available public computers (just as we have for many years) and that we provide information to guide users through the process (documents are available on a rack at the front entrance). It should be noted that library staff are not trained as career counselors and have not received any training in using the DEW website. However, the library does have information available on-site that guide users through the process or can refer users to proper contacts for more assistance. Available information includes guides ranging from topics such as creating a MyBenefits account and filing an initial claim to a Notice of Appeal to Appeal Tribunal.
Also available are business-card sized documents that includes space for a User Name and Password for both a MyBenefits account as well as an SCWORKS account, which is especially useful for remembering access information to the sites. The card also includes contact information for assistance with the process through SC DEW. Claims representatives are available from 8:30-4:00 by calling 1-866-831-1724, selecting option 4, then option 1. For Spanish speakers, the number to call is 1-866-572-3148.