Some job seekers in Newton are running into problems with a computer system that’s designed to help them find work. Newton Library director Sue Padilla told city council member this week the problems have resulted in the removal of the so-called “access point” system from the library.

“We contacted Iowa Workforce Development to report the problems, but no one came out to resolve them,” Padilla said. Around three dozen Iowa Workforce Development offices around the state were closed two years ago due to budget cuts. Many cities, including Newton, had their IWD offices replaced with the access point systems in libraries, on community college campuses, and other locations.

Padilla believes the recent problems with the system are not unique to the library. “Our volunteer talked with DMACC, which also has an access point, and the software was not working on their computers either,” Padilla said.

Padilla noted that job seekers can still use the library’s computers to access the Iowa Workforce Development website for employment assistance, but the “access point” software has been removed. Kerry Koonce, a spokesperson for IWD, says staff members tried to “recreate” the problems the Newton Library was having, but could not do so.

Koonce added that the operators of access points should report problems to IWD and IWD staff “make visits to access points every month to check in.”

By Randy Van, KCOB, Newton