Do Space launches no-cost virtual job interview lab, helping Nebraskans return to work

For the approximately 19 million Americans without internet service, COVID-19 poses a stark roadblock to looking for work: the online job interview. As more companies switch to virtual interviews, jobseekers face a Catch-22. How can you get a job if you can’t do the interview online? How can you afford the internet if you don’t…

Do Space at dusk. Photo courtesy of Do Space.
Do Space at dusk. Photo courtesy of Do Space.

For the approximately 19 million Americans without internet service, COVID-19 poses a stark roadblock to looking for work: the online job interview.

As more companies switch to virtual interviews, jobseekers face a Catch-22. How can you get a job if you can’t do the interview online? How can you afford the internet if you don’t have a job?

That’s why Do Space, Omaha’s community technology library and digital workplace, launched the virtual interview lab this week. The lab provides access to high-speed internet, reliable computer equipment and a comfortable private area where community members can conduct their interviews uninterrupted.

Rebecca Stavick, executive director of Do Space, said the new lab will help Nebraska residents return to work. 

“It seems that most job interviews occurring right now, especially first-round interviews, are conducted virtually,” Stavick said. “A lot of people don’t have access to this equipment or these programs. And making sure they don’t have anxiety around this technology is really important.”

The virtual interview lab contains a PC with high-speed internet, a high-definition webcam with ring light and a high-quality condenser microphone with over-the-ear headphones.  The computer has common online meeting software installed, including Zoom, Webex, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet. 

Members of the public can book the room for a maximum of two hours, provided they submit a booking 48 hours in advance, and Do Space technologists are available to answer tech-related questions or concerns. Staff can also install other necessary software upon request. 

“The Lab was really a result of community demand,” Stavick said. “We received a number of requests from our community—people needing the connectivity, space and technology to participate in virtual job interviews.”

The nonprofit’s solution is part of a nationwide effort to combat the United States’ current employment crisis.

The U.S. is experiencing its highest unemployment rate since the Great Depression. As the country continues to observe spikes in coronavirus cases, more than 32 million U.S. citizens filed claims for weekly unemployment benefits in June, according to a U.S. Department of Labor press release published yesterday. Every state has been affected. 

Nebraska has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S. at 5.4 percent (compare Nevada’s rate of 25. 2 percent). Still, 56,219 claims were filed last week, according to the Nebraska Department of Labor, a significant increase from 2019.

But Stavick is confident the virtual interview lab will assist with the interview process to get people back to work.

“Right now, our priority is to get the word out,” she said. “The virtual interview lab exists, and it is completely free. Our goal is to connect people with the technology they need for a successful job interview.”

As technological solutions continue to play a vital role in COVID-19 mitigation, Do Space is committed to keeping their virtual interview lab available to Omaha. The organization has also increased its focus to engage two specific communities: children whose education has been affected by the coronavirus, and jobseekers. 

People who want to boost their technological know-how are always welcome, too. 

Due to the coronavirus, Do Space has implemented safety measures and shifted some programming online. Guests must wear face masks at all times while in the building, maintain at least a 6-foot distance from patrons and staff and make advance reservations for the computer lab, 3D lab and virtual interview lab. View all safety measures here.

Reservations for the virtual interview lab can be made using Do Space’s online reservation form or by calling 402-819-4022. Learn more at dospace.org.  

 

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