The writer, of Omaha, is executive director of the Omaha Public Library.

Last month, Google broke ground on a new data center in Papillion. Our area is booming with tech companies, so it was no surprise when, earlier this year, business news website MarketWatch called Omaha and Lincoln America’s No. 1 “new tech hotspot.” Omaha is actively growing its base of tech companies that fuel our local and state economy.

Technology is all around us and is becoming a bigger part of our daily lives. We are not only tech-heavy but tech-savvy.

Since I joined the library in 2015, making technology accessible to the public has been one of my top priorities. With nearly 2 million visitors to Omaha libraries each year, it is no wonder that we continue to serve a key role in bridging the digital divide in our community.

When we ask people what the library means to them, many tell us that it is a place that provides access to knowledge for all, provides an abundance of different types of resources and feels like a place of community.

Omaha libraries will continue to evolve and grow and to bring new and innovative programs to help visitors of all ages improve their computer literacy and learn about emerging technologies.

A major component of workforce development in today’s world involves knowing how to navigate an increasingly technological world. In fact, a recent study by Burning Glass and Capital One found that more than eight in 10 jobs requiring a high school diploma now also require some level of digital skills or certification.

Omaha Public Library is committed to building programs and partnerships that will help the Omaha metro area grow a technologically savvy workforce, which will, in turn, strengthen our state’s economy.

As part of this effort, Omaha Public Library is partnering on an initiative called “Grow with Google” — the tech company’s initiative to help create economic opportunities for Americans through digital skills training.

Next week, “Grow with Google” will come to South Omaha Library . The day will consist of workshops and one-on-one training for small businesses, job seekers and anyone who wants to build on their skills. Google trainers will work with Omaha Public Library staff and other area nonprofits to make the tools and resources from this training available on an ongoing basis.

All are welcome and encouraged to attend the free coaching and training events, which will be held Wednesday at South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St.

Following the Omaha “Grow with Google” event, the American Library Association will open applications through a program called “Libraries Lead with Digital Skills” for microfunding to libraries throughout the state to provide programming, outreach and education in their own communities. Libraries can select one of the “Grow with Google” resources to integrate into a new or existing workshop, class or event and submit the idea via a simple application.

Omaha Public Library stands poised to help empower and prepare the next generation for the tech workforce. We provide information to children, teens and adults. We enjoy opening our doors every day and hope you will visit us to learn more about how we’re evolving to meet the demands of a rapidly moving world. We look forward to the special event at South Omaha Library and hope to see you soon.

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