Providence Public Library (PPL) announced it has received grants of $10,000 each from Bank of America and Wells Fargo in support of the Library’s innovative teen education and workforce development initiatives. Formally termed Teen Squad, these programs provide free, accessible, high-quality and competency-based learning opportunities to empower diverse, underserved teens with skills, academic credit, badges/credentials, and work exposure in high-demand and high-interest disciplines.
“PPL’s youth initiatives are guided by the goal to provide educational opportunities that will help address existing education and career gaps among Providence youth and to enrich and inspire our community’s next generation of creative thinkers, doers and leaders,” says Jack Martin, PPL Executive Director.
“We’re extremely happy to continue our support of Providence Public Library’s Teen Squad and all the great work you do in the community,” said Briana Curran, Vice President, Communications & Community Relations, New England Wells Fargo.
“Bank of America is proud to partner with Providence Public Library on its successful teen workforce development programs. We’re excited to see the impact you continue to make in the community,” said Courtney Gotjen, Community Relations Manager, Bank of America.
Community partnerships are a key aspect of the initiative’s success, which also includes flexible subject matter, interest-driven, project-based, collaboration with community mentors, and engagement with schools among its factors. PPL recruits multi-sector partners to mentor teens and provide industry knowledge to help inform the program curriculum design.
PPL continues to develop lasting partnerships with key organizations like Comprehensive Community Action Program (CCAP), Providence After School Alliance, the RI Department of Education, University of Rhode Island, and Roger Williams University to create the best learning programs possible, incorporate academic credit, mentoring, and other incentives and supports, and holistically meet the needs of youth in our community.
“Through programs like Rhode Coders 2.0, Data Navigators for Teens, and My City, My Place, the Library seeks to provide opportunities for teens to acquire the education and skills they need to discover their interests and passions and build critical 21-century skills and personal development needed to succeed in higher education and the workforce,” says Karisa Tashjian, PPL Education Director.
During the past three years, PPL served more than 900 teens; 450+ teens have earned academic credit or digital badges; 200+ teens completed final media projects and presentations that demonstrate specific 21st-century skills; 1000+ teens completed self-assessments that demonstrate competency in 21st century skills; 300+ teens created web portfolios that can be used for college or work applications, and 380+ teens gained work exposure.
PPL engages learners, inspires thinkers and connects diverse communities. PPL is a library re-imagined. Our library is a place where tradition and innovation intersect—serving as an open and collaborative center of teaching and learning where communities can connect, experience, create, and achieve. Approachable and inclusive, PPL is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of Rhode Islanders and everyone we serve.
As a private, non-profit, PPL receives no city funds to support library services and programs, and relies on grants and donor support. PPL is strategically focused on engaging audiences in five key service areas: City Residents; Teens; Children – Early Literacy and beyond; Adult Literacy, Workforce Development, and Lifelong Learning; and Art and Design.