Better Employment for a Better City

Employment services in the Twin Cities area

The Twin Cities are known for many things. We are accustomed to bitterly cold winters and balmy summers. We are surrounded by culture, theater, art, and music. But can the Twin Cities be known for employment support, too?

Three branches of the St. Paul library system have recently introduced a program called E-Learning for a Better Job. The services are available to anyone who comes into the library with an email address they can use and basic computer skills. The library will also help people who don’t meet these requirements by teaching simple computer programs or helping them set up an email account.

The program is simple to use. Anyone interested in the E-Learning career tools or certifications can come into the Rondo, Sun Ray, or Arlington Hills St. Paul library and work with a job counselor to decide on a career plan and begin their E-Learning experience. The program is individualized to each user. You chose your intended career path or goals and then complete any and all courses or certifications that may be practical in getting a new or higher level job. The libraries offer courses and assessments in business, Microsoft Office, healthcare, information technology, desktop publishing, communications, and more.

These options are available to anyone, free of charge. For more information, contact any of the participating libraries or stop in and try it for yourself.

Flickr | Doug Kerr

Flickr | Doug Kerr

As in many highly populated cities around the country, the Twin Cities has its fair share of people striving to find jobs or make ends meet. According to current statistics, more than 60,000 people are unemployed in the Twin Cities area. There are also people struggling with other obstacles in their lives that make it more difficult to find stable, meaningful work. Loss of prior income, loss of housing, under-qualification, or lack of affordable child care are all common challenges that may sometimes seem insurmountable to the people facing them. However, one of the biggest obstacles for people looking to find better jobs may be simply a lack of awareness about the services that exist in the Twin Cities. In reality, there are programs that cover a wide variety of needs, helping people move toward better jobs and opportunities. Here are just a few of them.

From Me to You

This amazing organization focuses primarily on job and interview readiness for parents in low-income families. By appointment, From Me to You meets with interested adults and supplies them with business formal clothes for interviews. The organization also teaches interview skills, how to dress for success, and how to improve resumes and job applications in order to aid their clients in achieving their career aspirations. They aim to support children and low-income families in other ways as well, like accepting clothing donations throughout the week and specifying certain days when families can come to receive the clothes.

For more information on appointments or how to donate:


Child Care Assistance Program

This service provides low-income families with free or nearly free childcare while they work, look for new work, or attend school. The program intends to make it easier for families to be able to enter the workforce without worrying about the high costs of child care. This option is only available for children age 12 and under, or children with special needs age 14 and under. In some counties there is a waitlist; however, needs are met as quickly and efficiently as possible.

For more information, refer to this website:


Minnesota Apprenticeship Initiative

This September, Minnesota received a large grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand and improve its apprenticeship program. The initiative will be accepting more than 800 new people to apprentice in five fields: advanced manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, information technology, and transportation. They also incorporate services such as job counseling, basic adult instruction, on-the-job training, and outreach and recruitment measures.

A shortage of specialized skills workers is one of the main reasons why they wanted to expand the apprenticeship program, according to the Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry. The grant will allow another several hundred people to enter the workforce in with useful skills and practical careers.

If you or someone you know is interested in the program:

The Twin Cities’ skylines glow each night with the promise of a metropolis of opportunity. Perhaps, with the help of programs like these, we are one step closer to fulfilling that promise. Maybe soon the Twin Cities will be known as a place where low-income or difficult circumstance doesn’t have to stop someone from finding a great job.