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The World of Work for Teens

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The World of Work for Teens

Queens Public Library

Education - Children & Adults | 2023 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

A collaboration with Touro University and corporate partners to offer a selective, six-week course for students in grades 10-12 to prepare for careers and college and learn financial literacy and civic leadership skills. Participants gain the confidence and training needed to move forward with their lives, and earn college credits in the process.


Figuring out a post-high school future is hard enough for teens, but deciding what to do next is even tougher while managing the emotional and mental effects of a global public health crisis. QPL saw an opportunity to help teens move forward by restoring a sense of possibility and hope for the future, and the present. The challenge was to develop a program that would uplift, engage, and inspire them through non-traditional learning approaches.

Key Elements of Innovation

World of Work leveraged the knowledge and experiences of QPL staff, college faculty, and the library’s corporate partners, including Capital One, designed a comprehensive curriculum to ensure maximum engagement. It is a combination of virtual and in-person coursework and experiential learning to teach students about starting a career, college planning, becoming financially literate and developing civic leadership skills. Students were required to apply to the program and articulate their goals for their next chapter.

Achieved Outcomes

Over two years, WoW has received over 100 applications for entry and accepted 40 students from a variety of different ethnic and racial groups and schools. Collectively, participants have completed over 900 course hours and donated nearly 100 hours of community service. Participants report increased comprehension of basic financial literacy, college planning and career readiness and gained more self-confidence about the future. Several students even found employment because of the skills they learned in the program.