Teen learning in the Library

Providence Public Library Receives $530,000 IMLS Grant to Create a High Impact Workforce Development Program Model to Serve 600+ Local Teens

May 2, 2016

Providence Public Library (PPL) has received a three-year IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) National Leadership Grant totaling $529,997.  This matching grant to create a high impact teen workforce development program model represents a $1.6 million initiative to which PPL is committed. “We are particularly pleased to announce that Bank of America has signed on as a corporate partner for the implementation of this project,” said PPL Executive Director Jack Martin.

“Youth workforce development and education is one of Bank of America’s primary focus areas,” said Sean Dagesse, Senior Vice President and Rhode Island Market Manager, Enterprise Business & Community Engagement. “With a project like this, being spearheaded by a nationally recognized community service organization like PPL, we see the optimal opportunity to develop a strong partnership where we can bring our collective networks and expertise to help the community grow and thrive.”

Planning for this Teen Workforce Development Collaboration is underway through the Library’s Education Department, with teen programs slated to begin in the fall of this year.  PPL and its local and national partners will develop, implement, and disseminate a high-impact teen workforce development collective impact project that will serve as a national program model. Locally, the project will support more than 600 underserved teens who will receive free, accessible, high-quality competency-based learning opportunities, leading to digital credentials (acknowledging participant achievement in a topic), academic credit, exposure to the world of work, and entry into education and career pathways.

“This project represents one of the Library’s key areas of focus in our ongoing Think Again Strategic Plan,” said Martin.  “We’ll be announcing local and national project partners over the next few months.”

“In addition, this demonstration project will help establish the important leadership role public libraries can play in communities to provide teen workforce education and increase employment,” said Rob Taylor, PPL Board Chair.  “With the dissemination nationally of program tools, curricula and guidance needed to extend the program in other libraries, this model will provide a blueprint for libraries to play a central role in collective impact that is well suited to the strengths and mission of libraries.”

“This follows on Governor Gina Raimondo’s five-year, data-driven plan that recognizes the crisis of education and employment for teens for which she has reconvened a long-dormant state Children’s Cabinet to strengthen state services for Rhode Island children,” said Karisa Tashjian, PPL’s Education Director.

Centering on student interest and the development of 21st century skills through interactive and engaging programs, the Teen Workforce Development Collaboration has four key objectives:

● Establish the Library as the backbone organization in the collective impact for education and workforce development for teens in Rhode Island;

● Develop youth-driven and-centered competency-based programming responsive to the school and community context that will create, expand and connect teens to workforce development opportunities;

● Create a shared, scalable and replicable framework that harnesses library collections and resources, community partners, and mentoring that is driven by student interest and aligned to education and workforce development standards with measurable outcomes; and

● Build a data-driven case of the Library’s critical role in education and workforce development for teens.

Additionally, PPL and its partners will develop assessments to provide students with academic credit, digital credentials and/or service learning opportunities.  The result of this collaboration is a well prepared group of teens with skills to enter the workforce.

With this project, PPL is building on its highly successful IMLS-funded ALL Access model (www.allaccessri.org) that works to leverage libraries and partners to collectively impact workforce development and education for adults and is further establishing the Library in the role of backbone organization as it addresses the workforce needs of teens.

Providence Public Library

Since its founding in 1875, the private, non-profit Providence Public Library (PPL) has served the City of Providence and State of Rhode Island, growing and innovating in response to the changing needs of its community, and often recognized regionally and nationally for providing high quality and award-winning public library services.  Today, PPL seeks to stay true to its mission as a premiere free, personal learning place for all Rhode Islanders, while also transforming to reflect not only where libraries are today, but more critically where we want to be over the next decade.

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.  Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement.  Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.  To learn more, visitwww.imls.gov and follow IMLS on Facebook (link is external) and Twitter(link is external).