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James Rettig's picture

Helping Patrons Access Healthcare Careers proposal

On January 17 I received the following responses (indented text) to question I posed to

Terri Lee Bergman
Director of Research and Programs
National Association of Workforce Boards
1133 19th Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC  20036
202.857.7900 x104

I am writing to you in my capacity as chair of the Professional Development Committee(PDC) of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), a division of the American Library Association.  We have received your proposal to conduct Webinars about the Virtual Career Network.

Members of the RUSA PDC have some questions that I hope you can answer.

I hope you can help clear some of our confusion about the VCN, its sponsor organizations, any fees associated with its use, and your overall publicity plan and RUSA's envisioned place in that plan.

It appears that the VCN is not yet in operation, or at least not accessible to the public without some form of registration  What is the VCN's current status?  To whom is it available?  What sort of registration is required and what organization manages that?  What fee, if any, is charge for using this resource?

We  have had some difficulty getting the VCN launched, and we will not be conducting webinars until it is fully launched.  At this point, we are only letting a limited number of people access it, in order to test its features.  Because it is in a test stage, it does require knowing the username and password to get on the site.  Once it is fully launched, it will be accessible free without a username and password.  In addition to the username and password, the site does and will allow people to set up accounts on the site, to allow them to save their work.  Users will not be required to set up accounts, and accounts, like all of the features of the website are and will be free.

In the meantime, if you or anyone else at the ALA would like to check it out the site, please feel free to use the username and password to access it:

url:             stage.vcn.org

username:          vcn

password:           !hvcp!

What is the relationship among thee NAWB, JFF, and the American Association of Community Colleges?  Who is going to promote this resource?  What fees will be charged for its use?

The Department of Labor gave the American Association of Community Colleges a grant to develop the VCN.  NAWB and JFF are among the subcontractors working on development of the site.  NAWB has the lead on marketing and training for the site, JFF also is part of the training team, with a lead role in developing webinars.  We have limited funds for marketing and training, and hope to make use of organization's newsletters to promote the site and advertise free training webinars, which will be scheduled once the site is full launched.  There are not now, nor will there be, charges for the use of the site.

RUSA pays Webinar developers for their intellectual labor and recoups that through fees for participation in its Webinars.  If the VCN is a free resource for end users, the PDC has qualms about paying individuals who it appears are responsible for promoting a tool developed with federal grant funds and further qualms about charging RUSA members to learn about that resource.  We also have doubts that members would be willing to pay for such a Webinar.

Thank you for your time and consideration of these questions.

I hope by now you realize that we are not looking to charge anyone for anything.  Once the site is launched, we would like to give you an article about the VCN to publish in your newsletter and on your website, and we would like you to advertise the free webinars we will be providing, to let your members know about the free website and how to use it.  We would be offering the webinars through our system, at no cost to you or your members.  Our only request of you would be to get the word out.

On another topic, I have been trying to contact the ALA about my providing a demonstration workshop on the VCN at the ALA annual conference in Anaheim in June.  Again, this would be at no cost to the ALA.  I would really appreciate it if someone could get back to me about this.

In the meantime, if you have any further questions about the VCN and our marketing and training plans, please feel free to get back to me by e-mail or phone.

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I will ask Susan Hornung about what RUSA can do in this sort of situation.