Staff Report

Thanks to an $85,000 grant awarded to the library, services are expanding in a dedicated space for young adults–ages 16 to 24–who are not working and not attending school. In Square One, a library staff member will be available to assist young adults with navigating the challenges facing them through mentoring, technology, career development, and connecting with community resources.

“‘Square One’ really augments the other work that we’re doing through the Mayor’s Village Initiative, community outreach, peace walks and the neighborhood accountability board,” said Mayor Muoio.

Assistant Library Director, Lisa Hathaway remarked, “It is amazing that we have been awarded the funding to create a dedicated space with resources to target the specific needs of our disconnected young adults. Whether it is filling out a FAFSA to head back to school or finding food assistance, the Mandel Public Library wants to provide every young person with the resources to remove obstacles and find their path to an outstanding future.”

In an effort to break down barriers to employment, young adults will have access to a driving simulator and driving test practice programs to help get a driver’s license. Computers loaded with industry standard software and the Learning Express Library– which includes career and resume programs– will be available for use.

A variety of job skill classes including Microsoft Office, online business etiquette, and financial literacy will be offered in a small group setting. Basic classes on coding, robotics and 3D printing will also be introduced. Local business and organization leaders will be welcomed to speak with the young adults to share their knowledge and offer volunteer or internship positions where available.

Through the “Square One Initiative: Reconnecting Disconnected Young Adults” program, the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach will broaden relationships with local organizations and other departments within the City–including the Mayor’s Village Initiative–to reach young adults and invite them to use this new resource. It is hoped young people will visit often as they work toward a brighter future.